Ian Harper


Academic Qualifications

  • Ph.D. (Economics) from the Australian National University in 1982
  • Master of Economics from the Australian National University in 1978
  • Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours in Economics from the University of Queensland in 1977

Scholarships, Awards & Distinctions

  • University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award, 2016
  • Economic Society of Australia Distinguished Public Policy Fellow, 2016
  • First Prize, Australian Christian Literature Awards, 2011
  • Fellowship of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, 2009
  • Appointed Professor Emeritus of The University of Melbourne, 2008
  • Elected to ANU Faculty of Economics & Commerce Alumni Hall of Fame, 2004
  • Fellowship of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, 2000
  • Fulbright Post–Doctoral Fellowship Award, 1987
  • Commonwealth Postgraduate Research Award, 1979
  • Australian National University Master Degree Scholarship, 1978
  • CEDA Prize in Economics, 1978
  • University Medal, 1977
  • Brinds Limited Prize in Economics, 1976
  • Australian National University Vacation Scholarship, 1976
  • Archibald Scholarship, 1975


Ian Harper is an Australian economist best known for his work in public policy.  He has worked with governments, banks, corporates and leading professional services firms at the highest level.

In March 2018 he returned to the Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne as its sixth Dean.

In May 2016 Ian was appointed to the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia and became a Senior Advisor to Deloitte Access Economics, having previously been a partner with the firm.

Prior to his consulting career, Ian spent 20 years at the University of Melbourne, including 16 years in various roles at the Melbourne Business School. He was elected Emeritus Professor of the University on his departure in 2008.

From March 2014 to March 2015, Ian chaired the Australian Government’s Competition Policy Review, a “root and branch” review of Australia’s competition policy, laws and regulators.

From December 2005 to July 2009, he served as inaugural Chairman of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, and from January 2011 to February 2012, he was one of three panellists chosen to review Victoria’s state finances.

Ian was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2000 and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2009. In 2016 he was elected a Distinguished Public Policy Fellow of the Economic Society of Australia and received a Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award from the University of Queensland.

Science/Faith Interests

Ian Harper has an interest in the relationship between Christianity and economics. The modern science of economics has roots in moral philosophy, some of which have Christian overtones. Exploring this association and how it influences what economists do are matters of continuing interest and research for Ian.

Professional Associations

  • Economic Society of Australia
  • Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

Presentation Topics

  • The relationship between economics and Christianity
  • Being a Christian in the modern workplace


Economics for Life, Acorn Press: Melbourne, 2011, pp.ix+174.  (2011 Australian Christian Book of the Year).

Christian Theology and Market Economics, (co-edited with Samuel Gregg), Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA, 2008 (re-issued in paperback, 2010), pp.ix+225.

Christian Morality and Market Capitalism: Friends or Foes? The Acton Lecture on Religion and Freedom, Occasional Paper 87, The Centre for Independent Studies Limited, Sydney, 2003, pp.iv+18.

The Distribution of Work & Wealth in Australia: Report of a Task Force of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia, (with P. Boyce, H.G. Brennan and G. Preece), General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia, 2001, pp.viii+51.

Economics and Ethics: The Dispute and the Dialogue, (with Samuel Gregg), Occasional Paper 71, The Centre for Independent Studies Limited, Sydney, 1999, pp.ix+50.

“Usury” (with L. Smirl) in Paul Oslington (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2014, pp.564-580.

“Religion matters for Faith, Hope and Love” in G. Johns (ed.), Really dangerous ideas: what does and does not matter, Connor Court: Ballan, 2013, pp.35-41.

“Treating ‘affluenza’: the moral challenge of affluence” (with Eric. L. Jones) in Ian R. Harper and Samuel Gregg (eds.), Christian Theology and Market Economics, Edward Elgar, 2008, pp.146-163.

“Christian Foundations of Australia’s Economic Development” in Stuart Piggin (ed.), Shaping the Good Society in Australia, Australia’s Christian Heritage National Forum, Macquarie Centre, NSW, 2006, pp.139-146.

“Economic Rationalism: The Economist’s View of the World”, in S. Gregg and I. Harper, Economics and Ethics: The Dispute and the Dialogue, Occasional Paper 71, Centre for Independent Studies, 1999, pp.2–17.