Business Insight 8th Nov 2016

Australian economists agree: Hillary Clinton is best for Australia

The American presidential election has been dominating international headlines for months. And no less so now that things are down to the wire.

Just last week, 20 economic Nobel laureates took the extraordinary step of releasing a jointly signed ‘open letter to the American people’.

Clinton vs Trump

They concluded:

“We do not all agree with every one of Secretary Clinton’s proposals, but in this election, the choice is clear: Hillary Clinton is by far the superior candidate for our economy and our country.”

Internationally, the question has been posed many times too. What would a Trump or Clinton presidency mean for the world? Which candidate would be the better choice?

We decided to ask the expert members of the Monash ESA Forum for their thoughts on the following proposition:

Hillary Clinton is likely to be the superior US presidential candidate for the Australian economy and for Australia.

Monash ESA Forum

75% of our members responded and an overwhelming majority (83.3%) agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.

There were some strong sentiments among some of the panellists, calling Donald Trump “damaging to the US economy and society” or even “another Hitler or Mussolini”.

Professor Lisa Cameron pointed to the depressing gender bias in both the coverage and reactions of the general public when discussing the suitability of each candidate to be president:

“I am sick of reading that both presidential candidates are weak candidates and seriously flawed. Hillary Clinton is one of the most experienced candidates to run for office. (…) Donald Trump is a dangerous, unpredictable egomaniac who knows very little about public policy.”

While some raised the point that Australia would be more affected by what happens in China, for example, others pointed to the fact that the effects of US economic policy are felt in Australia.

“The answer is unambiguous: Hillary Clinton is the superior candidate. Period. Donald Trump's economic policy plan (at least for what we have seen and heard in this campaign) is a mix of autarchy and tax cuts which will damage the US economy, increase inequality, and ultimately send a disrupting shock wave across the global economy. Australia (or the rest of the world, for that matter) certainly does not need that,” noted Professor Fabrizio Carmignani.

While there is a strong level of agreement among the panellists, several pointed to the fact that Hillary Clinton will likely have a weak mandate, with the Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate.

“There is a serious risk of a re-run of the Richard Nixon presidency à la 1973-1974 and, with it, a resulting policy paralysis across the key economic portfolios,” said Dr Rana Roy.

While we don’t yet know what the outcome will be tomorrow, one thing is clear. The whole world will be watching.


The Monash ESA Forum is a collaboration between Monash Business School and the Economics Society of Australia. The Forum aims to enhance awareness of how economics can help guide our thinking, policy design and implementation.