Contract research

The Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS) is a research centre with world-leading experts in computable general equilibrium (CGE) modeling and policy analysis.

The research group includes leading CGE modeler, Professor Peter Dixon, and the chief creator of GEMPACK software, Professor Ken Pearson.

Background

In the past thirty years, CoPS has built computable general equilibrium (CGE) models for many countries and provided training courses to modelers from all over the world. Today, over 400 organisations in over 60 countries are using CoPS-developed CGE models and GEMPACK software.

The Centre has an extensive contract research practice, involving two main lines of business:

  • research for government policy makers & businesses
  • advice & training for model builders.

Research for policy makers in government & business

CoPS has been commissioned by Australian and international governments and businesses to undertake:

  • scenario analyses on a wide variety of economic decisions and policies
  • cost-benefit evaluations of large projects
  • forward-looking analyses of future changes in microeconomic structures
  • evaluations of long-term environmental problems, such as global warming.

Clients

Clients have included:

  • the United States International Trade Commission
  • USDA Economic Research Service
  • the United States Environment Protection Agency
  • CREATE University of Southern California
  • Federal Aviation Administration, USA
  • Cato Institute, USA
  • The World Bank
  • The Mitre Corporation USA
  • Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT), Finland 
  • New Zealand Institute of Economic Research Ltd
  • Ministry of Finance, Malaysia 
  • The Bank of Papua New Guinea
  • United Nationals Development Program Vietnam
  • Hassall & Associates International
  • Asian Development Bank Institute
  • The Allen Consulting group
  • McLennan Magasanik Associates
  • Ernst & Young
  • Marsden Jacobs
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
  • URS Australia Pty Ltd
  • Frontier Economics
  • ARRB Group
  • Sinclair Knight Mertz
  • GeoScience Australia
  • ACIL-Tasman
  • the Commonwealth Bank
  • Optus Communications
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • ChevronTexaco
  • Alcoa Australia
  • various Federal and State government departments.

Issues addressed through our contract research

Among the many issues addressed have been:

  • the effects of fiscal policies such as the introduction of a goods and services tax, business taxation reforms, reallocation of funds between different levels of government and cuts in public expenditure
  • the effects of trade policies including changes in tariffs and the creation of free trade areas
  • the effects of microeconomic policies, such as reforms in the coal industry, introduction of competition in the electricity industry, reductions in waterfront costs, a more open airline policy, and the building of a new train line
  • the environmental impact of drought and water salinity
  • the implications of greenhouse and other energy policies, including Australia ratifying the Kyoto protocol
  • the effects on income distribution of tax changes and other policies
  • the effects of changes in the international environment, such as the September 11 terrorist attack, the Asian economic slowdown and the accession of China to the World Trade Organization.

Apart from their broad applicability in policy analysis, CoPS' models typically have strong forecast capacities. For example, they are used by state and federal government agencies to forecast employment by detailed occupation and region, or to forecast greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

Advice & training for model builders

CoPS has helped research organisations around the world to build general equilibrium models.

The most significant application and extension of CoPS modeling technology outside Australia has been the creation of a world trade model by the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) at Purdue University.

CoPS is closely associated with GTAP and supplies: 

  • software used to run the GTAP model
  • technical expertise with model improvements
  • teaching staff for GTAP training courses. 

CoPS has a long tradition of interaction with model builders from around the world, welcoming visitors at CoPS for various length of time, ranging from six weeks to one year.

Countries we've helped build general equilibrium models include:

  • United States
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Poland
  • Vietnam
  • Korea
  • Finland
  • Malaysia
  • Pakistan
  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Denmark
  • South Africa
  • Italy.

Software developments

Software developments and training courses at CoPS have made general equilibrium analysis increasingly accessible to economists.

Recent software developments at CoPS include user-friendly interfaces for running and modifying models, for viewing data and for analysing model results (e.g. WinGEM, RunDynam, ViewHAR, View-SOL, TABmate and AnalyseGE).

These developments have significantly reduced the computing load for analysts, thus enabling them to be more ambitious in the type of analysis undertaken and in their depth of understanding of model results.

Contact us to work out pricing

Rates for contract research are subject to negotiation between the client and the management of CoPS.

Please contact the Director, James Giesecke (james.giesecke@vu.edu.au) for more information.