Towards Crypto-friendly Public Policy

With Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts. Published in Melanie Swan, Jason Potts, Soichiro Takagi, Frank Witte and Paolo Tasca, 2019. Blockchain Economics: Implications of Distributed Ledgers, World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp. 215-232.

Abstract: Distributed ledgers are institutional technologies that pose complex challenges regarding regulation and inter-jurisdictional competition. This chapter introduces ‘crypto-friendly’ public policy as a way to understand these challenges. Blockchains are relevant to public policy in at least three ways. First, they can be adopted by governments for the provision of public services. Second, many blockchain applications interact with existing regulatory frameworks and may provide new regulatory challenges. Third, they present the possibility of ‘crypto-secession’ as a form of privately provided public goods provision. The chapter applies an institutional theory of regulation to assess how blockchains effect relative institutional costs and guide public policy choices. Blockchain applications such as property rights and identity management are also considered. Finally the chapter considers the possibility of crypto-friendliness as a dimension for international regulatory competition.

Available at World Scientific.

Britain and Western Civilisation in Australian Undergraduate History Courses: An Institutional Approach

With Bella d’Abrera. Published in Catherine A. Runcie and David Brooks, 2018. Reclaiming Education Renewing Schools and Universities in Contemporary Western Culture, Edwin H. Lowe Publishing, Sydney, pp. 91-99.

Abstract: “Study history, study history. In history lie all the secrets of statecraft”, said Winston Churchill. He could have added that in history lies a guide to many of our most important contemporary questions: national identity, human freedom, our shared democratic stake in society, and the relationship between individual and community. In Australia, as in every other country, history is a battleground on which politics is fought. But Churchill’s advice is incomplete. What history should be studied? In this essay we explore this question in relation to the teaching of history in Australia in undergraduate history courses.

Available at

Regulation and Technological Change

With Darcy Allen. Published in Darcy WE Allen and Chris Berg (eds.),Australia’s Red Tape Crisis: The causes and costs of over-regulation, Connor Court Publishing, Brisbane, 2018

Abstract: This chapter explores the relationship between technological change and regulation in both directions. New technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and distributed ledgers are likely to drive structural changes in decades to come, not least in the way firms comply with regulation and how regulators enforce regulation. Regulatory technology, or ‘RegTech’, presents opportunities to reduce the regulatory burden on firms and make regulation more efficient and less harmful. On the other side, regulators need to come to terms with new technologies that may challenge existing business models or regulatory constructs, and we propose policymakers adopt a ‘permissionless innovation’ principle in response, ultimately allowing experimentation with new technologies by default unless direct harms can be demonstrated.

Available at SSRN

Regulation and Red Tape in a Small Open Economy: An Australian Overview

Published in Darcy WE Allen and Chris Berg (eds.), Australia’s Red Tape Crisis: The causes and costs of over-regulation, Connor Court Publishing, Brisbane, 2018

Abstract: It is widely acknowledged in political circles that Australia has a high red tape and regulatory burden. However little scholarly attention has been directed towards understanding the extent and significance of that burden. This paper describes why red tape and regulatory reform should be treated as a particularly significant priority for a small, open economy such as Australia’s. Australia faces a number of economic and fiscal challenges and is likely to become more exposed to macroeconomic fluctuations in coming decades. Red tape and regulation slow adjustment to changes in that environment among individuals and firms. The red tape and regulation reform program should be seen as a central element in making Australia more resilient to local and global economic shifts.

Available at SSRN.