Peter Varela

EconomistPhoto for website bio

Peter joined the CIE as an Economist in July 2017.  He is an empirically minded policy economist, with a background in the public and academic sectors. Peter has strong technical skills in project evaluation, the economics of risk and uncertainty, regulatory design, microsimulation, economic modelling and impact assessments.

Prior to joining the CIE, Peter worked for four years as a Research Economist at the Productivity Commission, and three and a half years completing a PhD in Economics at the ANU. While completing his PhD, he worked as a Research Fellow at the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute where he published a number of working papers and discussion pieces on tax policy. He has also been a visiting researcher at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research and the Office of Tax Policy Research at the University of Michigan.

Some highlights of Peter’s work are listed below:

  • Research projects on the recycling and waste industry (2017-19). Peter has worked on four CIE projects covering different aspects of the recycling industry in NSW.
  • The taxation of savings (2019). A policy review for the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute that identifies best practice approaches to taxing savings, as identified by economists and public policy experts and compares these to the existing design of the Australian tax system.
  • Estimating the demand for electric vehicles using a choice modelling framework (2018).
  • Modelling the impact of international trade reforms on the Victorian Economy (2017). This CIE report uses an adaptation of the GTAP international trade model to estimate the impact of international trade reforms on the Victorian economy, with a particular focus on the impact of changes in foreign direct investment and trade in services.
  • A cap on ACT rates (2018). This report uses a micro-simulation approach to estimate the economic and distributional impacts of a cap on the annual change in ACT rates.
  • Research papers on the cost benefit framework (2016). As part of his PhD research, Peter completed two papers that looked at technical methods for incorporating equity concerns into the cost benefit framework.
  • Academic research on taxation (2014-16). During his PhD, Peter performed a wide range of research on tax system design that was published as part of his thesis, and through the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute as part of the working paper series and AusTaxPolicy blog.
  • Analysis of Risk and Uncertainty (2014-16). Peter completed applied statistical research during his PhD, and had worked on a number of applied projects using these skills, including market forecasting for recycled materials, and budget costing and forecasting.
  • Electricity Network Regulation (2012-13). This Productivity Commission report examines the causes behind rising electricity prices in Australia, with a particular focus on the regulatory design underpinning the supply of distribution and transmission services. The report also focused on time of use pricing, the role of interconnectors in the NEM, and the integration of generation options in network planning.
  • An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future (2013). This Productivity Commission Project forecast the fiscal impact of higher government spending as the population ages. On this project, Peter was responsible for cost projections of the Australia Age Pension, as well as evaluating several proposals regarding changing the Age pension eligibility age.
  • Disability Care and Support (2011). This Productivity Commission Report looked at the design options for the NDIS, as well as prospective estimates of cost and unmet demand for disability support. Peter was responsible for workforce issues and worked on the cost benefit estimate.

Peter can be contacted at our Canberra office.