Bob Breunig

Robert Breunig is the director of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at the Crawford School of Public Policy. From 2015 to 2016 he was the Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy. 

Professor Breunig is one of Australia’s leading Public Policy Economists. He has published in over 75 international academic journals in economics and public policy. Professor Breunig has made significant policy impact through a number of his research projects: the relationship between child care and women’s labour supply; the effect of immigration to Australia on the labour market prospects of Australians; the effect of switching to cash from food stamps in the U.S. food stamp program and the inter-generational transmission of disadvantage. 

Professor Breunig’s research is motivated by important social policy issues and debates. His work is characterized by careful empirical study and appropriate use of statistical technique. 

Professor Breunig’s research agenda has led to many partnerships with government organizations in Australia and overseas. He works regularly with the Australian Treasury, the Department of Employment, the Department of Education, the Department of Industry, the Department of Communication and the Arts, the Productivity Commission, the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as many other agencies. He has been a consultant to the private sector on marketing, mergers, bank competition and customer loyalty programs. 

Robert Breunig particularly enjoys interaction outside of typical academic circles and takes pleasure in helping those who don’t usually use economics or statistical analysis to better understand and make use of these tools in their work. He has an extensive track record of helping the Australian public service to build research capacity which he views as a particularly important activity. 

COVID-19 Expertise 

Professor Robert Breunig is an expert on the Australian tax and transfer system. He is working on policy solutions around tax reform that will help Australia’s post-pandemic economic growth. His focus is on the inadequacy of the current tax system to place Australia in a strong position for recovery from COVID-19. He is working on broad-based tax reform grounded in empirical evidence and cutting edge economic theory. 

Research interests 

Robert Breunig has a wide variety of research interests in applied topics in labour economics, economics of the household, empirical industrial organization and econometric theory. 

Recent publications and working papers have included work on: 

  • The effect of playgrounds on property prices in Melbourne 
  • Inequality and economic growth 
  • Financial stress of Indigenous Households 
  • Financial stress caused by drought in rural households 
  • The effect of cash transfers at birth on educational outcomes 
  • Women’s labour supply 
  • Optimal child care policy 
  • The wage gap between immigrants and non-immigrants in Australia 
  • The effect of immigration on wages and labour market outcomes of native Australians 
  • Innovation and outsourcing 
  • Research and Development spillovers 
  • Wage inequality 
  • Probit panel data models (theoretical econometrics) 
  • Firm-level productivity 
  • Sovereign ratings and resources 
  • Elasticity estimation in transport economics 
  • Merger policy 
  • Household financial difficulty 

Robert Breunig is one of the instigators of the Youth in Focus. project. This is a major data gathering initiative and research project focused on gaining a better understanding of how disadvantage and advantage are transmitted from one generation to another. 



Director and Founder of the Centre for Independent Studies

Professor of Public Policy and Director, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University


Sociologist, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney.
Author of The New Authoritarianism

Director, Free Market Foundation, (Hungary)

Health Director, Health and BioSecurity, CSIRO

Director and Founder, Academy of Ideas, London, (UK)

Founder and CEO, Cognoscenti Group

Executive Director, The New Zealand Initiative (NZ)

Australian writer and columnist for the News Limited Press

Research Director, CIS

Programme Co-ordinator of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Western Australia

Chinese Canadian human rights advocate

Senior Research Fellow, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

CEO and Founding Director, China Matters

Former Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives and Cabinet Minister

Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts and Academic Culture, and Professor of History, Australian Catholic University

Cancer researcher and clinical oncologist, with Genesis Care Newcastle

Founder and President, Middle East Forum, publisher Middle East Quarterly Journal, (US)

Professor of Economics, University of Melbourne

Senior Research Fellow and Director, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

Internationally acclaimed novelist and journalist, (US)

Head of Economic Research, Reserve Bank of Australia

Executive Director, CIS

Professor of Economics at Stanford University; Senior Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution and Chair of the Working Group on Economic Policy, (US)

UQ-CSIRO Chair in Personalised Nanodiagnostics, Professorial Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland

Diplomat, American Board of Pathology

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure

Liberal Party Member for Berowra

Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2007 to 2011, Chairman & CEO of Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd based in Beijing

Director of China and Free Societies program, CIS

Senior Research Scholar, Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University, (US)