Deakin University PhD student Matthew Larkin recently hooked an economics “opportunity of a lifetime.”
A coveted three-month internship with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra gave him invaluable experience within Australia’s seat of power.
“It gave me the opportunity to see how high level decisions are made, working with extremely capable people, who collaborated to achieve great results in fast turnaround times,” said Mr Larkin.
Working within the Division of Regulatory Reform, located adjacent to Capital Hill, he worked with a team of 10 senior advisors, including economists, political scientists, lawyers and international relations experts, who are responsible for analysing the regulatory impact of cabinet policy changes across all portfolios, ranging from housing, to health, to the environment.
The Division is currently focussing on cutting regulatory red tape by a net $1 billion a year.
“The internship revealed the complexity of this type of decision making,” noted Mr Larkin. “So many factors need to be considered to understand the potential impact of any specific reform, which can affect people’s lives across the country.”
He added that the team he was working with were very supportive and took a genuine interest in his knowledge and opinions.
Matthew Larkin is no stranger to success. Helped along by an iron discipline and a talent for spotting opportunities, he has grasped every opening during his time at Deakin. While pursuing his passion for economics research – focussing on the Australian housing market – he has gained tutoring and lecturing work at Deakin, joined the University’s Academic Board as one of only three elected student representatives and, in his spare time, competed for Australia in Duathlon and Triathlon Age-Group World Championships.
He has been running, cycling and swimming since high school, training for up to 14 hours a week to maintain his skills at competition level.
After completing his arts/commerce degree at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus (majoring in politics, economics and Indonesian), he chose to research house price trends across Australian capital cities for his PhD, focussing on the effect of political decisions, such as land tax, stamp duty and immigration policy, on the housing market.
“Economics is a helpful tool to think about how the world works and how we can quantify information,” he said.
“In my research it has been fascinating to explore how each city can experience very different impacts from specific demand and supply constraints. It is important to remember that capital cities, and even areas within capital cities, develop and change at different rates. There is no shortage of demand for housing in these areas.”
“However, supply and regulation constraints cause house prices to respond in different ways to the underpinning demand. Policy makers need to consider these factors when proposing any change to the parameters that govern behaviour in the housing market.
“It would be great to see academic research used to better effect and conveyed to individuals in a meaningful way, to help them with their housing choices.
“The indications are that the role of research will change in the next decade and there will be closer relationships between academia, the Government and private sector.
“I hope that my work in the future will bridge this space, so I can see my research being used to achieve the best outcomes.”