Invited speakers

We are very excited to be welcoming two highly distinguished speakers to deliver the keynote addresses at AGEW2019: Professor Iris Bohnet (Kennedy School of Business, Harvard University) and Professor A. Abigail Payne (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne).

To deliver the Gender Lensing Masterclass, we are delighted to welcome two expert analysts in the field of taxation and policy evaluation: Dr Janine Dixon (Centre for Policy Studies (CoPS), Victoria University) and Professor Miranda Stewart (Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, Australian National University).

Professor Iris Bohnet

Professor Iris Bohnet will be in Victoria in February 2019 as one of VicHealth’s current Leading Thinkers.

Professor Bohnet is the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government and Academic Dean of the Kennedy School of Business at Harvard University, and author of What Works: Gender Equality by Design. She is also the Co-Director of Harvard’s Women and Public Policy Program which provides evidence-based research insights into the role of gender in shaping economic, political and social opportunities, and identifies successful interventions that can guide public policies, organisation practical and leadership techniques.

A behavioural economist, Professor Bohnet’s research combines insights from economics and psychology to improve decision-making in organisations and society. Highlighting gender and cross-cultural perspectives, Professor Bohnet’s most recent research focuses on the influence of unconscious bias and examines how elements of behavioral design can be used to ‘de-bias’ how we live, learn  and work. In her 2017 book What Works: Gender Equality by Design, Professor Bohnet provides an evidence-based suite of initiatives that governments and companies can put into action to address unconscious bias.

At the Harvard Kennedy School, Professor Bohnet currently serves as a Co-Chair of the Behavioral Insights Group, Associate Director of the Laboratory for Decision Science, and Faculty Chair of the ‘Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century’ executive program for the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders. She is also a Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Behavioral Science, and serves on the boards or advisory boards of Credit Suisse Group, Applied, Edge, genEquality, We Shape Tech, and the UK Government’s Equalities Office as well as numerous academic journals. Professor Bohnet earned her Doctorate in Economics from the University of Zurich in 1997.

In 2016, Professor Bohnet was appointed as one of VicHealth’s Leading Thinkers, along with fellow economist Dr Jeni Klugman, to guide VicHealth’s work in Behavioural Insights and Gender Equality, which focuses on building gender equality in a range of settings including the media, workplaces and sport clubs. The VicHealth Leading Thinkers initiative was created in 2014 to connect international thought leaders with senior policymakers and key local experts. It aims to generate and provoke new thinking, inspire momentum, enable change, support and deepen relationships across sectors and deliver positive results for all Victorians.

It is an honour to welcome Professor Iris Bohnet to AGEW2019 and we gratefully appreciate the generous support of VicHealth for making Professor Bohnet’s visit possible. We also gratefully acknowledge the generous financial support of the Ian Potter Foundation for supporting WEN’s goal to bring an inspiring and distinguished international keynote speaker to AGEW.

Copies of Professor Bohnet’s book, What Works: Gender Equality by Design (published by Harvard University Press) will be available for purchase during AGEW2019.



Professor A. Abigail Payne

Professor A. Abigail Payne is the Ronald Henderson Professor and the Director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Payne’s empirical research focuses on public policy issues, including the effect of government policy initiatives on spending, performance and individual behaviour, and investigates creative ways to link measures across different data sources. Professor Payne explores the dynamics behind donor and charity behaviour, including what motivates donors and how government funding and fundraising can influence charitable giving. In her education stream of research, she has explored students’ decisions to pursue post-secondary education, focusing on gender gaps in educational performance and post-secondary educational attendance, and differences in male and female students’ choices to pursue degrees in science, technology, and engineering (STEM).

Prior to commencing her current appointment at the Melbourne Institute, Professor Payne was a Professor of Economics at McMaster University in Canada, where she was the inaugural Director of McMaster’s Big Data Institute (MacDATA) and the Director of the Public Economics Data Analysis Laboratory (PEDAL), a data facility she created in 2003 to generate high quality research datasets that could inform key public sector issues. She has held previous academic roles at the University of Illinois, the Institute for Government and Public, and the University of Toronto. She is also one of 16 female economists serving on the Economic Society of Australia’s National Economic Panel.

Professor Payne is a member of the CESifo Research Network based in Germany, and has been an International Fellow with the Centre for Market and Public Organisation at the University of Bristol in the UK. She previously served as President of the Canadian Women’s Economists Network (CWEN), and as a member on the board of directors of the Canadian Economics Association, the Association for Educational Finance and Policy, and the Fort York Food Bank charity. Professor Payne earned her PhD in Economics from Princeton University in 1995. She also holds a law degree from Cornell University and has previously practiced law in Washington, D.C.

Professor Payne has been an avid supporter of WEN since its formation in Australia and we are extremely grateful for her ongoing of support of WEN’s initiatives including AGEW2019.



Dr Janine Dixon

Dr Janine Dixon is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS) at Victoria University in Melbourne.

Dr Dixon’s research expertise encompasses the theoretical and practical application of large-scale dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) models, including conducting detailed forecasts of labour market demand and income distribution. She has worked extensively with the Victoria University Regional Model VUMR (formerly MMRF) and TERM models of the Australian economy, undertaking economic consultations for public and private sector clients in Australian and internationally.

Dr Dixon is a part of Economic Society of Australia (ESA) National Economic Panel, who represent a cross-section of Australia’s top economists. Prior to joining CoPS in 2007, Dr Dixon worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics where she was the manager of various surveys of the service industries in Australia. She earned her a PhD in Economics from Trinity College Dublin in 2006.

Dr Dixon participated in WEN’s all-female panel to deliver the 2018 budget address the National Press Gallery, presenting her modeling work on the economic impacts of the Australian Government’s proposed increase to company tax which included an assessment of the repercussions of the proposed tax change for gender equality. We are very appreciative of her ongoing support and contribution towards our WEN events.


Professor Miranda Stewart

Professor Miranda Stewart is Fellow and former Inaugural Director of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University (ANU) and a Professor at Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne.

As one of Australia’s preeminent academic experts in tax, Professor Stewart brings a breadth of experience in tax and social policy from across the academic, government and the private sector. She engages in research, policy advice and teaching across a wide range of tax policy and law design projects and sectors. Her research addresses gender equality in the tax and transfer system, as well as the taxation of corporations, budget institutions, and the resilience, legitimacy and effectiveness of tax systems and tax reform.

Professor Stewart has previously worked in private legal practice and in the Australian Tax Office on business tax policy and legislation, and taught at the New York University School of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada and the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Professor Stewart is a contributing author to the Gender Lens on the Budget Report produced each year by the National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW). Her 2017 publication Tax, Social Policy and Gender (published by ANU Press) compiles latest the empirical research on the gender inequalities embedded in Australia’s tax and transfer policy settings. She is also a regular contributor to the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute Blog.

Professor Stewart has lent her expertise to several of WEN’s budget analysis events, including being part of WEN’s first ever all-female panel to deliver a budget address to the National Press Gallery in 2017. We are very appreciative of her continued support and input towards our WEN events.


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