Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2012 (Revised June 2017)

Australia: Commodities and Competitiveness

by Laura Alfaro, Richard H.K. Vietor, Bill Russell, Hilary White and Haviland Sheldahl-Thomason


For the past few decades, Australia has dealt with the benefits and costs of repeated mining booms—inflation, a housing bubble, a current account deficit and growing dependence on China. Between 1996 and 2007, however, Australia had most of these issues under control and grew at impressive rates, becoming one of the richest of developed countries. Yet competitiveness in its non-mining sectors declined. Since the financial crisis, additional challenges associated with climate change, minerals taxes, migration, fiscal deficits and an currency fluctuations have complicated the issues facing both Labor and Liveral administrations, with a very thin majority. Meanwhile, Australia's non-mineral competitiveness continues to recede.

Keywords: commodities; competitiveness; carbon tax; environment; capital flows; current account; mining; Goods and Commodities; Australia;


Alfaro, Laura, Richard H.K. Vietor, Bill Russell, Hilary White, and Haviland Sheldahl-Thomason. "Australia: Commodities and Competitiveness." Harvard Business School Case 713-015, August 2012. (Revised June 2017.)