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Saul Eslake

Independent Economist

Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Tasmania

Connection to the Underwood Centre
As a distinguished economist, Saul Eslake has a strong interest in education. As he explains:


“I have an abiding belief in education as an ‘enabler’, not only of improvements in individual, community and national living standards, but as essential to developing an informed and engaged citizenry, and in promoting peace and understanding between the people of different nations.”


Saul Eslake was educated at Smithton Primary School in north- western Tasmania, the Hutchins School in Hobart and the University of Tasmania, from which he graduated with a first-class honours degree in Economics in 1979. After beginning his career with the Australian Treasury in Canberra, Saul subsequently worked in the Australian financial markets for almost three decades, including as Chief Economist of the ANZ Bank from 1995 through 2009 and Chief Economist (Australia & New Zealand) for Bank of America Merrill Lynch from 2011 through 2015. He returned to live and work in Tasmania at the end of 2014, and since mid-2015 has been running his own independent economics consultancy business.

Saul was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Tasmania in December 2012 for his contributions to national and State economic debate, and to economic and cultural development at the national and state levels, and for his service to the Commonwealth of Australia, State of Tasmania and University of Tasmania. In April 2016 he took up a part-time position as the University’s inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and is also an affiliate of the Underwood Centre. He was a Director of the University of Tasmania Foundation from 2003 until 2010.

Saul has been a non-executive director of Hydro Tasmania since 2008 and is also currently Chair of the Board of Ten Days on the Island (Tasmania’s statewide biennial multi-arts festival), and a non-executive director of Housing Choices Australia, a not-for-profit affordable housing provider. He was Chair of the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board from 2006 through 2011 and has served on a number of other Federal and State government advisory panels.


Saul has contributed the first in our series of our Friends and Affiliates feature articles:

One point economists agree on …

Economists are notorious – among other professionals – for their apparent inability to agree on … well, almost anything, it often seems. It’s therefore particularly striking that one of the few pointson which there is almost unanimous agreement among economists is the strong linkage between educational attainment and economic performance, for individuals and for communities, societies or ‘economies’.

Every May, for more than 35 years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has undertaken a survey which it calls Education and Work, the results of which are typically published about six months later. Every year this survey provides hard evidence of the strong correlation between people’s educational attainment and labour market experience.

In May this year, a person who had completed secondary school up to Year 12 was almost two-thirds more likely to be employed than someone who had left at Year 10 or earlier; someone with a diploma, advanced diploma or Certificate III/IV qualification was three-quarters more likely to be employed than someone who had left at Year 10 or earlier; and someone with a bachelor’s degree or higher was twice as likely to have a job as someone who had left school at Year 10 or earlier.

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