Applied Microeconomics: primarily in health, education, labour and public economics, with a focus on evaluating the effects of Australian government programs on economic outcomes and behaviours. Inequalty and inter-generational mobility is also a key theme in my work.
Mendolia, S. & Siminski, P. 2017, 'Is education the mechanism through which family background affects economic outcomes? A generalised approach to mediation analysis', Economics of Education Review, vol. 59, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
We seek to quantify the role of education as a mechanism through which family background affects economic outcomes. To this end, we generalise mediation analysis to allow for multidimensional treatments. This improves the validity of mediation analysis for our application, in which family background is exogenous and multidimensional. Our approach allows the mediating role of education to vary across background characteristics, whilst also estimating its overall mediating effect. We estimate that educational attainment explains 21%–37% of the family background effect on hourly earnings in Australia, and only 13%–19% of the effect on wealth. We argue that these estimates are likely upward-biased. Therefore the link between family background and economic outcomes operates mostly through other mechanisms.
Outside of the United States, few studies have estimated the effects of World War II service. In Australia, general war-time conscription and minimal involvement in the Korean War led to large cohort differences in military service rates, which we use for identification. We find a small, temporary negative effect on employment and a substantial positive effect on post-school qualifications, but not at the university level. While service increased home ownership slightly, it greatly reduced outright home ownership, consistent with the incentives provided by veterans' housing benefits. We also find a positive effect on marriage, but only from 1971.
Johnston, D.W., Shields, M.A. & Siminski, P. 2016, 'Long-term health effects of Vietnam-era military service: A quasi-experiment using Australian conscription lotteries', JOURNAL OF HEALTH ECONOMICS, vol. 45, pp. 12-26.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Lindo, J.M., Siminski, P. & Yerokhin, O. 2016, 'Breaking The Link Between Legal Access To Alcohol And Motor Vehicle Accidents: Evidence From New South Wales.', Health economics, vol. 25, no. 7, pp. 908-928.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
A large literature has documented significant public health benefits associated with the minimum legal drinking age in the USA, particularly because of the resulting effects on motor vehicle accidents. These benefits form the primary basis for continued efforts to restrict youth access to alcohol. It is important to keep in mind that policymakers have a wide variety of alcohol-control options available to them, and understanding how these policies may complement or substitute for one another can improve policy making moving forward. Towards this end, we propose that investigating the causal effects of the minimum legal drinking age in New South Wales, Australia, provides a particularly informative case study, because Australian states are among the world leaders in their efforts against drunk driving. Using an age-based regression discontinuity design applied to restricted-use data from several sources, we find no evidence that legal access to alcohol has effects on motor vehicle accidents of any type in New South Wales, despite having large effects on drinking and on hospitalizations due to alcohol abuse. Copyright © 2015John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Paloyo, A.R., Rogan, S. & Siminski, P. 2016, 'The effect of supplemental instruction on academic performance: An encouragement design experiment', ECONOMICS OF EDUCATION REVIEW, vol. 55, pp. 57-69.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Siminski, P., Ville, S. & Paull, A. 2016, 'Does the military turn men into criminals? New evidence from Australia's conscription lotteries', JOURNAL OF POPULATION ECONOMICS, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 197-218.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Patulny, R., Siminski, P. & Mendolia, S. 2015, 'The front line of social capital creation - A natural experiment in symbolic interaction', Social Science and Medicine, vol. 125, pp. 8-18.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper offers theoretical and empirical contributions to understanding the micro-sociological processes behind the creation of social capital. Theoretically, we argue that the emotional and shared experience of participating in symbolic interaction rituals may affect social capital in four different ways, via: (i) a 'citizenship' effect, connecting participants symbolically to the broader, civic society; (ii) a 'supportive' effect, bonding participants with each other; (iii) an exclusive 'tribal' effect, which crowds-out connections with other groups and the wider society; and (iv) an 'atomising' effect, whereby intense experiences create mental health problems that damage social capital.
We illustrate this with a case study of Australian veterans of the Vietnam War. The randomness of the National Service conscription lotteries of that era translates into a high-quality natural experiment. We formulate several hypotheses about which of the four effects dominates for veterans who participated in the 'symbolic interaction' of training and deployment. We test these hypotheses using data from the 2006 Australian Census of Population and Housing, and the NSW 45 & Up Study.
We found that war service reduced 'bonding' social capital, but increased 'bridging' social capital, and this is not explained completely by mental health problems. This suggests that while the combined 'tribal' and 'atomizing' effects of service outweigh the 'supportive' effects, the 'citizenship' effect is surprisingly robust. Although they feel unsupported and isolated, veterans are committed to their community and country. These paradoxical findings suggest that social capital is formed through symbolic interaction. The emotional and symbolic qualities of interaction rituals may formulate non-strategic (perhaps irrational) connections with society regardless of the status of one's personal support networks.
Siminski, P. 2013, 'Are low-skill public sector workers really overpaid? A quasi-differenced panel data analysis', APPLIED ECONOMICS, vol. 45, no. 14, pp. 1915-1929.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Siminski, P. 2013, 'EMPLOYMENT EFFECTS OF ARMY SERVICE AND VETERANS' COMPENSATION: EVIDENCE FROM THE AUSTRALIAN VIETNAM-ERA CONSCRIPTION LOTTERIES', REVIEW OF ECONOMICS AND STATISTICS, vol. 95, no. 1, pp. 87-97.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Siminski, P. & Ville, S. 2012, 'I Was Only Nineteen, 45 Years Ago: What Can we Learn from Australia's Conscription Lotteries?', Economic Record, vol. 88, no. 282, pp. 351-371.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The Australian conscription lotteries of 1965-1972 are a unique and underutilised resource for studying the effects of army service and veterans' programs. Drawing on many data sources and 25 years of related US literature, we present a comprehensive analysis of this natural experiment, examining indicators of health, personal economic outcomes, family outcomes and educational attainment. We discuss the numerous potential mechanisms involved and the limitations of available data.
Siminski, P. & Yerokhin, O. 2012, 'Is the Age Gradient in Self-Reported Material Hardship Explained By Resources, Needs, Behaviors, or Reporting Bias?', Review of Income and Wealth, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 715-741.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Older people report much less hardship than younger people in a range of contexts, despite lower
incomes. Hardship indicators are increasingly influential, so the source of this age gradient has considerable
policy implications. We propose a theoretical and empirical strategy to decompose the sources
of this relationship. We exploit a unique feature of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics
Australia (HILDA) survey, which collects reports of hardship from all adult household members. This
facilitates within-couple estimates, allowing us to identify age-related reporting bias. The majority of
the raw age–hardship gradient is explained by observed resources, particularly wealth and home
ownership. One third of the relationship is explained by unobserved differences between households,
which we interpret as age-related behavioral choices. Reporting error does not appear to contribute to
the age gradient.
We analyze data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey waves 1–6, to investigate whether the housework and childcare contributions of coupled Australian men with one child affect the likelihood that their wives will have a second child. We find no evidence that the way housework or childcare is shared has an effect, nor that the amount of men's contribution to housework or childcare has an effect. In addition, the effect of men's housework and childcare time on fertility does not appear to be mediated through its effect on their wives' housework and childcare.
Livermore, T., Rodgers, J. & Siminski, P. 2011, 'The Effect of Motherhood on Wages and Wage Growth: Evidence for Australia', ECONOMIC RECORD, vol. 87, pp. 80-91.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Siminski, P. & Ville, S. 2011, 'Long-Run Mortality Effects of Vietnam-Era Army Service: Evidence from Australia's Conscription Lotteries', AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW, vol. 101, no. 3, pp. 345-349.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Ville, S. & Siminski, P. 2011, 'A FAIR AND EQUITABLE METHOD OF RECRUITMENT? CONSCRIPTION BY BALLOT INTO THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY DURING THE VIETNAM WAR', AUSTRALIAN ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 277-296.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Siminski, P., Bezzina, A.J., Lago, L.P. & Eagar, K. 2008, 'Primary care presentations at emergency departments: rates and reasons by age and sex.', Australian health review : a publication of the Australian Hospital Association, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 700-709.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Primary care presentations at emergency departments (EDs) have been the subject of much attention in recent years. This paper is a demographic analysis using administrative data from the Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) for 2005 of such presentations in New South Wales EDs and of self-reported reasons for presentation. Age and sex differences in the reasons given by patients for such presentations are analysed using data from a survey of patients conducted in a subset of EDs in 2004. The rate of "potential primary care" presentations varies greatly with age and to a lesser extent with sex. Almost half (47%) of these presentations are made by people under 25 years of age. Children aged 0-4 years account for 14% of the total. The pattern is distinctly different to the corresponding rate of ED presentations that do not fit the "potential primary care" definition. Reasons given for "potential primary care" presentations are consistent across all age groups, reflecting self-assessed urgency, access to diagnostics and self-assessed complexity. Older "primary care" patients are particularly unlikely to give reasons associated with GP affordability or availability for their presentations. Young adults' responses are consistent with the overall population, and children under the age of five seem most susceptible to availability issues.
Saunders, P. & Siminski, P. 2005, 'HOME OWNERSHIP AND INEQUALITY: IMPUTED RENT AND INCOME DISTRIBUTION IN AUSTRALIA', Economic Papers: A journal of applied economics and policy, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 346-367.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Siminski, P., Chalmers, J. & McHugh, M. 2005, 'Foster carers in New South Wales: Profile and projections based on ABS Census data', Children Australia, vol. 30, no. 03, pp. 17-24.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Siminski, P. 2003, 'Patterns of disability and norms of participation through the life course: empirical support for a social model of disability', DISABILITY & SOCIETY, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 707-718.View/Download from: Publisher's site