Dr Tony Beatton

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BEST Fellow

PhD (Economics), M. Bus (Research), B. Bus (Finance)

I am an empirical economist focussed on the development of longitudinal BIG Datasets used to analyse the life trajectories in learning, well-being, social inclusion, education and labour market outcomes of young Queenslanders, from the early years through adolescence on to the mid-twenties. I apply causation-based econometric analysis methods to provide policy-based evidence to support improvements to our education & social systems. I collaborate in this effort with key stakeholders and a global team of researchers (e.g. London School of Economics; University of Barcelona) to achieve real world research impact. I am on the management team of the World Wellbeing Panel.

Since completing my PhD in 2011, I have applied my 30-year IT industry experience to the development of a 1995 to 2019 Big Data longitudinal panel dataset. The dataset enables research focussed on improving the life outcomes of 1.7 million young Queenslanders from kindergarten, State grade & high school, tertiary education, and into employment, a family relationship, and beyond. We do this by matching administrative data sources from Government agencies such as the Queensland Government Department of Education, Queensland Police Service; Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General, and; the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Our unique longitudinal dataset allows us to undertake Child Development and Early Education and Care research previously inaccessible to researchers due to the lack of quality data sources.

I recently applied my BIG Data expertise to reveal the extent to which Queensland’s introduction of a Preparatory year of education and the provision of high-quality Kindergarten contributed to student academic outcomes. Other contributions using our BIG dataset include examination of the benefits arising from Queensland’s 2006 Earning or Learning education policy change. Using advanced econometric methods, we untangled the complicated web of causation and inter-correlation to reveal that compelling young people to stay at school reduces their anti-social behaviour and improves their educational outcomes.

My work has advanced the availability of population datasets enabling research in areas previously restricted by the absence of reliable high quality data sources. This allows us to publish Government reports and academic papers that advance the knowledge in areas of Child Development, Early Education and Care.

Learn more: https://researchers.uq.edu.au/researcher/17771