• Economic Research Papers

    From time to time, the Department of Treasury releases discussion papers and/or research papers under the banner of 'Understanding the WA Economy'. The papers look at topical issues, important to the Western Australian economy or its financial management.

    The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement: Implications for
    Western Australia

    October 2019 

    This paper outlines the potential impact of the agreement on Western Australia.  It also highlights the enormous long-term trade potential offered by Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, and likely to become one of the world’s largest economies by 2050. 

    International Trade: Emerging Developments and Prospective Outlook

    February 2019 

    This paper reviews the gains from trade and considers recent developments in global trade and, in particular the current US-China trade dispute and implications for Western Australia.

    Structure of the Western Australian Economy

    May 2014

    This paper examines the underlying structure of the Western Australian economy and its transformation over the past ten years.

    Exchange Rate Forecasting Review

    October 2009

    A review has been undertaken of competing models of the $US/$A exchange rate, with the purpose being to identify which forecasting technique is likely to produce the most accurate results over the budget year and forward estimates period. This follows a period of extraordinary volatility in the exchange rate, with significant implications for the State’s finances.


    Housing Stress in Western Australia

    March 2007

    This paper consists of six chapters. An overview of the Western Australian housing market since 2000-01, with particular focus on emerging trends and their likely effect on housing prices in the short to medium future is provided in Chapter 1, while Chapter 2 outlines how the affordability of housing in Western Australia has changed in recent years. Chapter 3 summarises observed changes in the Perth rental market, and discusses the likely effect on rental prices from past and future movements in housing prices. Chapter 4 defines housing stress, and identifies those groups in Western Australia that are most susceptible to housing stress, while Chapter 5 outlines measures through which the Government currently provides assistance to owner-occupiers and rental tenants in Western Australia. A brief summary of the conclusions of the paper is provided in Chapter 6.

    Migration in WA: a recent economy history

    October 2006


    Migration has a large and wide-ranging influence on WA's community. It is a large and often volatile component of population change, and plays a key role in driving demand for public services and shaping trends in the broader economy. Understanding the evolution of the State's migration flows is therefore very important from a public policy perspective. 

    To improve this understanding, and to better inform the outlook for migration and total population growth in WA, this paper documents recent movements in the size and composition of these flows using detailed data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the federal Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. 

    Business Investment in Western Australia

    January 2006

    This paper aims to provide some insight into the determinants of business investment. It examines a range of factors that are considered by economic theory and Western Australian industry to be important for investment in the State. 

    Structure of the Western Australian Economy

    August 2005

    This paper provides an outline of the industrial structure of the Western Australian economy, which is an alternative way of looking at the nature and composition of the State’s economic activity. 

    The World Iron Market in 2005

    May 2005

    This paper examines the general state of the world iron ore and steel market in 2005, and likely developments over the period to 2010. 

    An Economic History of Western Australia Since Colonial Settlement

    December 2004

    This publication traces events and developments that helped transform the Western Australian economy from European settlement in 1829 to the present day. The content draws heavily from other authors who have previously traced aspects of the State’s economic development. 

    China: Economic Reform and Implications for Western Australia

    January  2003

    Understanding China's economy – its opportunity and its challenges and its developing potential links with our State – is an essential ingredient to better understanding the future of the Western Australian economy.

    Globalisation and the Western Australian Economy

    March 2002

    Despite research showing improvements in living standards due to globalisation, concerns have been raised in Australia and many other countries about the effects of freer global markets in trade and investment. This paper examines what globalisation is and what is driving it, the evidence about the real impact of globalisation, whether there are any myths that should be dispelled and Western Australia's place in the global economy. 

    Economic Research Articles

     March 2002

    This is a compendium of papers written by the Department of Treasury and Finance. Some of these papers have been published in previous editions of the Western Australian Economic Summary, while other papers are unpublished to date. 

    Structure of the Western Australian Economy

    February 2002

    Using the production structure of the State's economy as a framework, this paper identifies and analyses major trends and factors peculiar to the Western Australian economic landscape.  The paper also briefly considers Western Australia's fiscal circumstances, with a specific focus on how economic conditions affect revenue growth. 

    Economic tools to tackle Dryland Salinity in Western Australia

    November 2001

    This paper examines the economic and public finance aspects of salinity management in Western Australia, particularly the use of economic tools for tackling the salinity problem. 

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