Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Leon Berkelmans

Dr Leon Berkelmans was formerly the Director of the International Economy Program and the G20 Studies Centre at the Lowy Institute. Before joining the Institute, Leon was a Senior Manager at the Reserve Bank of Australia, where he worked on the Chinese and Indian economies, investment, trade, and financial markets. Prior to the RBA, Leon worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington D.C., where his main responsibilities were macro-econometric modelling of the United States economy. Leon has also spent time working in Kenya, evaluating the efficacy of different methods of giving aid, and has also worked as an economic consultant at the Centre for International Economics. Leon has a PhD in economics from Harvard University. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Australian National University, with a year on exchange to Oxford University.

Articles by Leon Berkelmans (46)

  • Where economics fits in the security debate

    The relationship between the intelligence and strategic communities on the one hand, and economists on the other, has a rich and storied history. Nobel Laurette Thomas Schelling perhaps exemplifies the interactions at their best. Schelling’s work on game theory and strategy influenced US thinking profoundly, particularly in the context of the Cold War. In Australia, at the moment, the relationship is somewhat frayed.
  • Will a hung parliament bring economic uncertainty, and how damaging is that?

    After the Australian election, and after Brexit, learned authorities in dark suits are shaking their heads. 'Times are especially uncertain', is their grave assessment. It begs the question: when are times especially certain? But I digress. That financial markets hate uncertainty seems quite plain. You just need to look at the reaction after Brexit. But what about the wider economy? The last decade has seen an explosion in research on the effects of uncertainty.
  • Shock will pass but populist exit contagion a risk for markets

    A few weeks ago some researchers at Lowy had a lunch. I was asked about the consequences of Brexit for Australia and the global economy. I shrugged my shoulders and said 'Meh'. So, I was quite surprised by the market moves on Friday. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been. If I had paid attention to the changes in markets prior to the vote, I would have appreciated that this would reverse after the 'Leave' vote came in.
  • Yes, monetary policy does still work

    Did you know that Australia once had a double dissolution election where the trigger was the conduct of monetary policy? It was our second double dissolution election, in 1951  (we are currently looking at our seventh), and the question at hand was the management of the Commonwealth Bank, which later in the decade had the Reserve Bank cleaved from it in an unrelated reshuffle. Monetary policy matters. It has mattered for a long time.
  • Washington in spring fails to inspire gloomy economists

    Last week I was in Washington DC at the same time as the circus of the IMF and World Bank Spring meetings. Anyone paying attention to the headlines from those meetings would have been sullen. The World Economic Outlook, the IMF's six-monthly global economic health check, was titled 'Too Slow for Too Long'. One observer even mentioned to me that we are living in a repeat of the 1930s. But while things could be better, they aren't terrible.
  • If China enters a downturn, it doesn't mean Australia is destined to follow

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece on what I thought was a surprising fact: the correlation between the Australian and Chinese economies has been essentially zero over the last seven years. In fact, co-movement was only strong during the Global Financial Crisis. Apart from that, there isn't much of a story to tell. Another surprising fact is that the correlation between the Australian and US economies is high, and remains so.
  • Capital controls: Australia still needs an Iceland option

    I was happy to see Acting Deputy Secretary Justin Brown elaborate on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's thinking in regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) last week on The Interpreter. To recap, back in February I discussed one of my TPP misgivings: I think the TPP does not sufficiently protect Australia's ability to use capital controls. Capital controls, at a basic level, prevent money from crossing international borders.