Nick Ward

Senior Economist

Nick joined the CIE in 2014. He has worked as a professional economist for 9 years, and has a wide range of experience across: government policy and cost benefit analysis, economic research, economic modelling, developing business cases and quantitative forecasting. Nick is currently developing his skills with The CIE’s highly respected suite of general equilibrium economic models.

His recent projects include the following:

  • Framework design and impact analysis of government subsidies. Nick provided the basis of a future monitoring framework for costs in one part of the health sector by translating raw data collected by government into a tractable database, and then using the database to isolate the impact of a subsidy on costs in the sector over time.
  • Efficiency and equity analysis of different taxes. Nick used CGE modelling to compare the impact of State Government taxes on economic activity and developed a model that determined their impact on family budgets across income quintiles.
  • Review and development of an evaluation technique for major events. Nick reviewed the technique a State Government uses to evaluate major events and found it could be improved without substantially increasing the time or cost involved in evaluating individual events. He developed a simple but powerful alternative technique that: is scalable to the size of the event being evaluated, incorporates key principles from benefit cost analysis and CGE modelling, and allows for timely evaluations.
  • The timing and relative costs of different emissions reduction paths. Nick compared future paths for CO2 emissions reduction in an Australian State. He drew on economic principles and published results in the literature. His novel analysis showed that given the dual constrains of net zero emissions by a given year, and a fixed CO2 budget, there is little difference in the relative economic costs of different emission reduction paths.
  • Analysis of the taxation of capital gains. Nick analysed different policies that would increase the effective tax rate on capital gains. He concluded that while these policies would likely increase the revenue collected by the Federal Government, they will also create costs. Housing costs (rent paid by tenants, and the transfer price paid by owner-occupiers to acquire a new home) are likely to increase in the long-run as investors withdraw capital from housing supply. And revenue collected by State Governments, especially from property taxes, is likely to fall.
  • Importance of science to the Australian economy. Nick synthesised insights from workshops that brought together some of Australia’s leading science researchers, industry consultations and other research into information that allowed him to estimate the marginal impact of recent advances in science on the Australian economy.
  • Framework for long-term forecasting. Nick developed a simple but powerful ‘3P’ forecast framework that allowed an investment banking team to easily understand and develop scenarios for long-run economic growth in Australia.
  • Impact framework for infrastructure. Nick developed a novel framework for estimating the long-run impact of infrastructure on the economy of NSW by combining insights from three distinct areas of research: the impact of infrastructure on travel time to and from residential areas, the impact of travel time (amongst other costs) on net migration, and the impact of migration, via a demographics model, on population and GDP growth.
  • Regional modelling of infrastructure investment. Nick developed a sophisticated, highly detailed model of the agriculture industry, separate mining industries and separate manufacturing industries in different LGAs in regional QLD, and used the model to estimate the impact on these industries of policy reforms, transport infrastructure investment and international prices.
  • Budgeting and business cases. Nick improved the quality of budgeting for a digital education program for pre-schoolers by working with subject matter experts to understand how the program was changing as it matured from a ‘new idea’ into an ‘established project’ and implications of this for costs.

Nick can be contacted at our Canberra office.