Peter joined the Economics Discipline Group in January 2017. He received his PhD in economics from the University of New South Wales in 2008.
Peter’s research interest is in Applied Microeconomics, Health and Labour, Inequality and Mobility and Program Impact Evaluation.
Can supervise: YES
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.
Atalay, K, Barrett, GF & Siminski, P 2019, 'Pension incentives and the joint retirement of couples: evidence from two natural experiments', Journal of Population Economics, vol. 32, pp. 735-767.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Recent reforms to social security in many countries have sought to delay retirement. Given the family context in which retirement decisions are made, social security reforms have potentially important spillover effects on the labour force participation of spouses. This paper analyses two complementary Australian natural experiments: (i) the 1993 Age Pension reform that increased the eligibility age for social security benefits for women and (ii) the Vietnam veterans pension and compensation schemes, whereby eligibility was conditional on conscription lotteries. We find important within-family spillover effects that are symmetric by gender and independent of whether pension coverage is expanded or withdrawn. Taking account of such within-family spillover effects is important for understanding the behavioural effects of pension programs and for reform impacts on social welfare.
This paper considers the degree to which events that intensify partying increase sexual assault. Estimates are based on panel data from campus and local law enforcement agencies and an identification strategy that exploits plausibly random variation in the timing of Division 1 football games. The estimates indicate that these events increase daily reports of rape with 17-24-year-old victims by 28 percent. The effects are driven largely by 17-24-year-old offenders and by offenders unknown to the victim, but we also find significant effects on incidents involving offenders of other ages and on incidents involving offenders known to the victim.
Murray, C, Clark, RG, Mendolia, S & Siminski, P 2018, 'Direct Measures of Intergenerational Income Mobility for Australia', ECONOMIC RECORD, vol. 94, no. 307, pp. 445-468.View/Download from: Publisher's site
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: 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, DW, Shields, MA & 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: Publisher's site
Lindo, JM, 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: Publisher's site
Paloyo, AR, 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
Siminski, P 2011, 'The price elasticity of demand for pharmaceuticals amongst highincome older Australians: A natural experiment', Applied Economics, vol. 43, no. 30, pp. 4835-4846.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Most high-income older Australians became eligible for a pharmaceutical concession through a 1999 policy change. I exploit this natural experiment to estimate their price elasticity of demand for pharmaceuticals. The preferred model is a nonlinear Instrumental Variable (IV) regression, estimated on nationally representative repeated cross-sectional survey data using the Generalized Method of Moments (GMM). No significant evidence is found for endogenous take-up, and so cross-sectional estimates are also considered. Taking all of the results into account, the 'headline' estimate is -0.1, implying that quantity demanded is not highly responsive to price. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
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: 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: Publisher's site
Is gender inequality in unpaid work within households implicated in falling fertility rates? This paper investigates whether the likelihood couples with one child will have more children is affected by: (i) the amount of household labor they each perform or (ii) the way they divide household labor between themselves. Drawing a sample of partnered couples with one child (n = 573) from the longitudinal Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia survey, we conduct multivariate regression analysis and find the more housework that Australian women do, the less likely they are to have more children. Neither fathers' time allocation to housework, nor relative shares of housework, were found to have an effect on subsequent fertility. Thus, mothers' own domestic workloads negatively impacted upon fertility, but shares of housework did not. © 2010 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Siminski, P, Bezzina, A, Lago, L & Eagar, K 2008, 'Trends in primary care presentations at emergency departments in New South Wales (1999-2006)', Australian Journal of Primary Health, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 35-42.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper examines trends in potential "primary care" presentations at emergency departments (ED), comparing these with other ED presentations and to primary care attendances in the community. The study draws on EDIS data (Emergency Department Information System), which, at December 2005, covered 76% of attendances in New South Wales, and from Medicare Australia MBS data. Annual counts of potential primary care presentations to EDs are compared with those of other ED presentations and to primary care presentations in the community. Changes in the percentage of ED presentations that are potentially for primary care are examined, as are changes in the percentage of total primary care presentations seen in EDs. Trends in age standardised presentation rates are also calculated for each of the three series. Primary care presentations at EDs increased marginally in the period under consideration, as did primary care presentations in the community. There was a substantial increase in other ED presentations. The proportion of ED presentations potentially for primary care decreased over the period. The proportion of primary care presentations seen in EDs and the proportion seen in the community changed little. Decline in the proportion of potential primary care presentations to EDs may have been impacted by new guidelines for the application of triage categories in 2001. However, trends over time do not show acute alterations and they continue to hold for the subsequent period after introduction of new guidelines. Primary care presentations at EDs are not responsible for recent changes to ED overcrowding in New South Wales, at least not for hospitals covered in the EDIS database. Future research might consider more specific trends in rural EDs.
Siminski, P, Bezzina, AJ, Lago, LP & Eagar, K 2008, 'Primary care presentations at emergency departments: rates and reasons by age and sex', AUSTRALIAN HEALTH REVIEW, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 700-709.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Masso, M, Bezzina, AJ, Siminski, P, Middleton, R & Eagar, K 2007, 'Why patients attend emergency departments for conditions potentially appropriate for primary care: Reasons given by patients and clinicians differ', EMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 333-340.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Objectives: To compare reasons identified by clinical staff for potential primary care attendances to the ED with those previously identified by patients. Methods: Survey of staff and primary care patients in five ED in New South Wales, Australia using questionnaire based on reasons identified in published studies. Results: Clinicians in the survey identify a broader spectrum of reasons for potential primary care cases presenting to the ED than the patients themselves report. Doctors reported on average 4.1 very important reasons and nurses 4.8 compared with patients 2.4 very important reasons. The main reasons identified by both doctors and nurses were similar and quite different to those identified by patients. Clinicians were more likely to emphasize cost and access issues rather than acuity and complexity issues. There was no difference within the clinician group between doctors and nurses nor by varying levels of experience. Furthermore doctors with significant experience in both primary care and emergency medicine did not differ from the overall clinicians' pattern. Conclusions: These data confirm that clinician perspectives on reasons for potential primary care patients' use of ED differ quite markedly from the perspectives of patients themselves. Those differences do not necessarily represent a punitive or blaming philosophy but will stem from the very different paradigms from which the two protagonists approach the interactions, reflecting the standard tension in a provider - consumer relationship. If policy is to be developed to improve system use and access, it must take both perspectives into account with respect to redesign, expectations and education. © 2007 The Authors.
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. 3, pp. 17-24.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Administrative data on foster carers in New South Wales (NSW) are sadly lacking. Based on research commissioned by the NSW Department of Community Services, this paper uses the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing and other data to provide up-to-date information on the characteristics of foster carers and the demographic trends that are influencing their numbers. Census data indicate that foster carer families are most likely to contain women aged 35–54 years, not in the labour force. Couples account for two-thirds of all foster carers, with the majority of those couples also caring for birth children. While single parents account for less than one-fifth of all foster carers, they are more likely to foster than couples, either with or without birth children. Higher rates of fostering were found in relatively disadvantaged areas. Projected increases in female labour force participation are expected to contribute to a decline (or to slower growth) in the number of foster carers over the next decade. However, projected increases in sole parent families and couples without children are expected to have the opposite effect. The relative magnitude of these effects was not ascertained.
Siminski, P, Cragg, S, Middleton, R, Masso, M, Lago, L, Green, J & Eagar, K 2005, 'Primary care patients' views on why they present to emergency departments: Inappropriate attendances or inappropriate policy?', Australian Journal of Primary Health, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 87-95.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This study investigates why some patients with apparently less urgent conditions present to emergency departments (EDs). We report on a survey of "potential primary-care" ED patients, who were asked about their reasons for choosing the ED over GPs. The sample consisted of 397 patients (with a response rate of 99% = 397/400), recruited in the former Illawarra Health Area. The three main reasons selected were: self-assessed urgency; being able to see the doctor and having tests or X-rays done in the same place; and self-assessed seriousness or complexity. The results do not appear to be sensitive to two potential sources of bias (fixed question ordering and non-random sampling). The results suggest a number of potential policy levers for encouraging some people to present to GPs rather than EDs. However, the main conclusion is that the majority of "potential primary-care" patients appear to be presenting for appropriate reasons. Thus "inappropriate attendances" do not seem to be the cause of EDs being under stress. We also argue that the results are useful for drawing inferences more broadly than just in relation to the Illawarra.
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
Lindo, J, Siminski, P & Yerokhin, O, 'Breaking the Link Between Legal Access to Alcohol and Motor Vehicle Accidents: Evidence from New South Wales', National Bureau of Economic Research.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Mendolia, S & Siminski, P, 'Does Family Background Affect Earnings through Education? A Generalised Approach to Mediation Analysis'.
We seek to quantify the role of education as a mechanism through which family background affects earnings. To this end, we propose a generalisation of statistical 'mediation analysis'. In our approach, the treatment and mediator can be multidimensional. This allows us to directly and flexibly account for a range of background characteristics which affect child earnings through the pathway of education and through other mechanisms. The results suggest that educational attainment explains 24%-39% of the overall family background effect on earnings in Australia. The mediating role of education seems to be larger for Australia than for the UK.
Siminski, P, Ville, S & Paull, A, 'Does the Military Train Men to Be Violent Criminals? New Evidence from Australia's Conscription Lotteries'.
Combat is the most intense form of military service, but several aspects of the training experience, which explicitly prepares people for violent warfare, are hypothesized to link service to violent crime. Using Australia's Vietnam-era conscription lotteries for identification and criminal court data from Australia's three largest states, we seek to estimate the effect of army training on violent crime. Using various specifications, we find no evidence that military training causes violent crime, and our point estimates are always negative. In our preferred specification (using only non-deployed cohorts), we rule out with 95% confidence any positive violent crime effects larger than 3.6% relative to the mean.