National Centre For Social And Economic Modelling (NATSEM)
NATIONAL CENTRE FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC MODELLING
For over 20 years NATSEM has been one of Australia’s leading economic and social policy research centres, and is regarded as one of the world’s foremost centres of excellence for microsimulation, economic modelling and policy evaluation.
NATSEM undertakes independent and impartial research, and aims to be a key contributor to social and economic policy debate and analysis Australia-wide and throughout the world through expert economic modelling of the highest quality, while also supplying research services to commercial, government and not-for-profit clients. Through its research NATSEM is an active contributor to social and economic policy debate and its research receives extensive media and public attention.
NATSEM’s work covers the areas of Tax/Transfer policy modelling, small area policy modelling for urban and regional areas, modelling disadvantage and policies to reduce disadvantage, modelling labour force including childcare, and modelling health conditions and costs.
Over the next few years, NATSEM will be growing our research, and will be looking for top candidates for jobs at a number of levels from Research Assistants to Associate Professors. If you are interested in working at NATSEM, please send your CV to NATSEM | at | canberra.edu.au, and we will keep you informed of any opportunities as they arise.
NATSEM also has a visitor program, which funds international and Australian visitors to work with NATSEM staff on a particular project. The visitor program is funded on a case by case basis, and you can apply through any NATSEM staff member. It is expected that a visitor will visit for between 2 and 4 weeks, that a paper will be produced with NATSEM staff, and that the visitor will give a NATSEM seminar while here. The visitor program can fund travel costs and accommodation, up to a maximum of AU$2000. It does not fund staff time, and co-funding from the visitor’s institution is an advantage.
The first version of STINMOD (Static Incomes Model) was released in 1994 and was updated each year in line with the latest changes to the Commonwealth Tax and Transfer system.
STINMOD+ is the successor of the original STINMOD model and incorporates many new modelling techniques and has greatly improved the efficiency and the maintainability of the original code. The overhaul also makes it easier for other models we are developing to interact with STINMOD+ in the future. This has been a significant upgrade to the original STINMOD model, and will serve NATSEM well into the future.
Microsimulation models apply the Commonwealth Government tax and transfer rules to data at the individual and household level. This means complex Government Tax/Transfer policies can be modelled, incorporating complex interactions between different policies. The same kind of models are used extensively by the Commonwealth Government in Australia, and governments overseas.
STINMOD+ is one of the very few comprehensive and working tax/transfer microsimulation models in Australia outside of the Commonwealth, and plays an important role in conducting independent modelling of Tax/Transfer policies in Australia. NATSEM is also part of the international microsimulation community, and contributes to, and learns from, the international literature in this field.
STINMOD+ is also classified as a static microsimulation model, which means it estimates the ‘day after’ impact of a policy. This is the impact of the policy without any change in behaviour, for example, a decision to change working hours after a tax change. This is the same type of model as used by the Commonwealth to estimate the impact of proposed tax/transfer policies. One advantage of this model is that it provides quick estimates of short run effects for the policy changes that do not change economic structure significantly. However, it should not be used to estimate long term effects or for policy changes that are likely to change economic agents’ behaviour.
More information on microsimulation modelling can be found on the International Microsimulation Association (of which NATSEM is an affiliate) website, and in the Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling. In particular the chapter led by NATSEM staff members Dr Jinjing Li and Professor Ann Harding: Li , O’Donoghue , Loughrey and Harding (2014), Static Models, in O’Donoghue (ed.) Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling (Contributions to Economic Analysis, Volume 293), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.47 – 75.
For more information about STINMOD+ contact Jinjing Li.
It is well known that many social and economic characteristics vary by location. Incomes are different in urban areas compared to remote areas; and house prices are higher in one part of a city compared to another. This spatial variation is essential to take into account when designing Government policy or conducting research, as it can affect service provision and will affect the results of any research done for a larger area.
NATSEM has developed a model that allows us to derive small area estimates of many characteristics that would not normally be available from other small area datasets like the Australian Census or administrative data. The technique also allows us to derive cross tabulations of different characteristics (so, for example, poverty by age group or poverty by housing tenure). The model also allows projections to be derived, using population projections from the ABS or State and Territory Governments; and projections of labour force status from the Commonwealth Treasury.
The spatial microsimulation method has been used to derive small area estimates of poverty by family type; poverty rates for single aged pensioners; and housing stress. The model has also been linked to NATSEM’s tax/transfer microsimulation model, allowing us to derive small area estimates of tax/transfer policy changes.
NATSEM researchers have substantial expertise on spatial microsimulation, and Associate Professor Robert Tanton is a recognised international leader in this technique, recently winning an Economic and Social Research Council grant to meet other experts on spatial microsimulation in the UK. Dr Yogi Vidyattama is also an expert on regional indicators and spatial microsimulation, and is on the board of the Australia New Zealand Regional Science Association International (ANZRSAI).
For more information about this SpatialMSM model contact Rob Tanton on (02) 6201 2769.
The Intergenerational Reports, released by the Australian Federal Treasury, have outlined future fiscal difficulties that are likely to be faced by Australia over the next forty years. These include higher health care, aged care and age pension costs, along with lower labour force participation rates as a large percentage of the population move to retirement age.
This dynamic microsimulation model simulates the life cycle of around 200,000 individuals; based on a 1 per cent sample of the 2001 census. Individuals are added through births and migration, and removed through death and emigration, become disabled, form households, study, work, earn money, buy assets, pay tax and use aged care and health services. All these details are estimated to up to 50 years, and users can observe how the Australian population grows and develops over time under a number of different scenarios.
The aim of APPSIM is to allow the long-term, distributional impacts of policy changes to be simulated, particularly their social and fiscal impacts as the population ages. With APPSIM, the impacts of a policy can be simulated under a range of different assumptions; for example high or low birth rates or migration rates, strong or weak wage growth, high or low unemployment. Furthermore, the breadth of the model allows a very wide range of policy types and impacts to be simulated. Finally, modelling individuals allows the impacts of policy to be analysed at a highly detailed level.
APPSIM has been used to simulate the distributional impacts of increasing the superannuation contribution rate, the age pension entitlement age and changes to levels of educational attainment.
For more information about this model contact Simon Kelly.
apply for phd
The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) is accepting PhD applications for the 2018 in-take.
How to apply
- Contact a potential supervisor from the Centre. In this correspondence, include (1) a brief statement of interest explaining why you wish to pursue a PhD with NATSEM; (2) a short research proposal, less than 1,000 words; (3) CV; (4) transcripts; 5) sample of written work.
- Once the supervisor supports your application, follow the instructions here to submit your application.
- Scholarships are available for domestic and international applicants. Click on the links for more information.
Deadline for expression of interest for this coming round has now closed.
meet our phd students
Why do a PhD with the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM)? One of our recent PhD graduates tells his story.
I was originally trained as a development economist both when I pursued my undergraduate level at the University of Indonesia and when I studied my master degree the Australian National University. My research was mostly involved in the area of poverty alleviation, social programs, and regional development analyses. When I joined the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA) in 2012 to start my Ph.D, I found that other research areas was very fascinating, which could strengthen my capability on policy analysis.
My involvements in several research and consultation projects at NATSEM/IGPA has developed my skills in constructing a solid policy prescription based on a wide-range of evidence. The project and consultation projects include analysis on dynamics Australian labour market, social condition in the Aboriginal communities, migration in the Murray-Darling Basin Australia, and OECD’s report on trend of poverty and inequality in Indonesia. The latest research project on costs of dementia received a positive response from the Federal government of $200 million on dementia research. After completing my Ph.D, currently I am working at the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) ACT Government. I also keep maintaining my passion in teaching in quantitative analysis unit at University of Canberra. Pursuing my PhD at NATSEM/IGPA clearly developed my ability to always improve and contribute in shaping the policy.