John’s CV

This page includes relevant information about my academic and professional life, split into five categories:

  • Education
  • Professional experience
  • Academic experience
  • Community involvement
  • Awards, activities, and achievements




  • PhD (Economics)
    University of Queensland

Thesis looked at education in Cambodia, specifically looking at the rate of return on university education (the first complete estimate) and the use of personal equity finance as a funding model. Conducted a “Cambodian Education Survey” (2012), developed new modifications of the Mincer model to factor in heterogeneous experience (presented at the 2013 Australian Conference of Economists), and used this information to explore personal equity financing possibilities (presented at the 2014 Australian Conference of Economists). Final milestone and submission in 2015, but officially awarded in 2016. 

Undergraduate degree (1996-98; GPA=6) with a focus on international and monetary economics; completed 28 subjects instead of required 24, including 2/3rds of a commerce degree. Postgraduate honours (1999; GPA=6.4) is functionally equivalent to a Masters degree; high distinctions in Advanced Macroeconomics, International Economics (1st in class), and Monetary Economics; student representative on faculty management.


Professional experience

  • Research Director
    University of Management & Economics, Kampong Cham (UME-KPC)

Co-founded the Professional Research Institute for Management and Economics (PRIME) as the research division of UME-KPC, focused on increasing economic literacy and improving the quality of economic discussion in Cambodia. Managed a small team of researchers and admin staff. Projects include translating and publishing economic books and videos, conducting independent research on topics such as low-cost schools, analysis of regulation & international trade, and hosting events, forums & seminars on economics and public policy. Originally run independently in Phnom Penh, in early 2017 PRIME was fully integrated into the UME-KPC campus in Kampong Cham. 

Researched, wrote and spoke on issues including charitable funds, labour markets, climate change policy, tax and welfare reform, health policy, political philosophy and civil society.

Projects included an assessment of the Aust-US free trade agreements, analysis of government R&D policies, assessing the finances of ASEAN, giving short training courses in budget policy, competition and international trade, researching the environmental impact of subsidies, calculating the costs of the Bali bombing, using and interpretting complex models (including CGE model GTAP), and conducting benefit-cost analysis on a range of different topics. Includes a subcontracted job for the World Bank in Indonesia. 

Responsible for forecasting GST and income tax revenue, writing elements of the Budget Papers, and coordinating the revenue section of Budget Paper 2. Involved in the production of the Intergenerational Report and the Tax Expenditure Statements, as well as involvement in a review of defence financing.



Academic experience 

  • Lecturer of Managerial Economics for Masters students
    Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE), Phnom Penh
  • Lecturer of International Economics
    Zaman University, Phnom Penh
  • Lecturer of Project Management for undergraduate and MBA students
    University of Business and International Studies (UBIS), Geneva, Switzerland
    & London American City College (LACC), Dubai, UAE
  • Lecturer of Applied Microeconomics for Masters students
    University of Queensland.

Topics included dynamic tax analysis, game theory and strategic dynamics, information economics, and contract theory. 

  • Research Assistant
    University of Queensland

Assisting Professor Paul Frijters with field work in Tajikistan; related to culture, development, and happiness. 


  • Tutor
    University of Queensland
    1999, 2007, 2011

Tutor for ECON1010: Introductory Economics & ECON2110: Political Economy (2007), tutorial coordinator for ECON2110: Political Economy (2007), and ECON1120: Economics of Social Issues & ECON 1110: Australian Economic Institutions (2011)

Research and write about issues related to cultural production and consumption in Australia, specifically looking at cultural consumption price indices  and inter-city cultural comparisons. Two months only.

At the time, the university was known as the Maharishi Vedic University, and the volunteer program was supported by the Australian Centre for Education. The campus was in a rural area of Prey Veng Province, where there was electricity for only two hours a day, and the closest city was a day’s drive away. 




Community involvement

  • Founder & President (unpaid)
    Human Capital Project, Cambodia & Australia

Provide personal equity finance to poor students so that they can attend university; in exchange, those students agree that if/when they get a proper job then they will “pay it forward” by paying a percentage of their income (for a fixed number of years) to fund the next generation of poor students to attend university. Since 2015 HCP has also offered free accommodation for female students in Kampong Cham.

  • Executive Director (unpaid)
    Economic Society of Australia QLD

Originally elected as Deputy Secretary, then subsequently re-elected as Executive Director three times. Participated in organizational matters, assisted with official events and activities, and helped manage ESA’s social media. Also served as Vice-President of the Australian Young Economists from 2013-15.

  • Postgraduate representative (unpaid)
    University of Queensland management, Brisbane

Appointed as postgraduate representative to the assessment committee of the Academic Board (2011); elected as the inaugural President of the reformed postgraduate students’ association (2011); elected as postgraduate representative to the UQ Union (2012); and elected as postgraduate representative to the UQ Senate.

Other associations

  • Justice of the Peace (Qual) in Queensland (2013-)
  • Editorial Advisor to the Journal of Internet Business (2004-06)
  • Board Member of Circle Project, which was a Gold Coast charity that provided low/no-cost recording opportunities for young musicians (2011-14)
  • Infantry Private, RURQ, Australian Army Reserve (1997-98)
  • Academic Advisor to the University of Management and Economics & Stapnic Sustainable Economy Project, Cambodia (2010-15)
  • Member, Mont Pelerin Society (2010-)
  • Deputy Director, Australian Taxpayers Alliance (2012-) and course coordinator for the ATA subject Basics of Market Economics (Sydney, 2013)
  • Founder of Australian Libertarian Society, and co-founder of the ALS Friedman Conference (2013-) and the Australian Liberty Awards (2014-); including the coordination of international guest speakers such as Deirdre McCloskey, Yeonmi Park, Tom Palmer, Nick Gillespie & Brendan O’Neil, as well as many prominent Australian academics, politicians, and activists.
  • Founder, inaugural President, and life member of the Liberal Democrats (2000-), including as lead candidate for the 2001 & 2004 ACT elections, and candidate at the 2007 & 2016 federal elections. Stood down from the federal executive in 2009 for work reasons, and have not been an office-bearer since then.
  • Adjunct Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies (2005-), Australian Institute for Progress (2014-) and LibertyWorks (2016-)


Awards, activities & achievements

  • Awarded a knighthood in the Cambodian Royal Order of Monisaraphon for contributions to Cambodia’s education (2015)
  • Successfully tendered for US$9000 for a review of Cambodian regulation (2015)
  • Represented UQ and the Australian PhD Conference (2014)
  • FINM2001: Corporate Finance, at the Australian National University (2000)
  • Completed short courses in Mathematics for Economics (UQ; 2011), Tutor Training (UQ; 2007 & 2011), Policy Analysis (CIE; 2002), and Think Tank Management (Atlas Network; Delhi 2014, Sydney 2015 & 2016)
  • edX courses on Managerial Economics (IIMBx, 2016), Foundations of Market Structures (NYIF, 2016), Economic Democracy (EdinburughX, 2016), Circulur Economy (DelftX, 2016), Introductory Astrophysics (ANUx, 2016), and Prime Numbers (KyotoUx, 2016)
  • Basic level of Chinese (pre-intermediate), Khmer (beginner), and Dutch (beginner)
  • Winner of Korean Herald economics essay contest with “Korea as an economic hub” (2006), and receiving two awards as part of the CIS essay contest (2003; 2004)
  • Member of the steering committee for Festival of Dangerous Ideas (2009-10)
  • Qualified as a recreational light-plane pilot (Sunshine Coast, 2007), professional scuba Divemaster (Egypt, 2008), and sailing competent crew (Brisbane, 2009)
  • Travelled to >80 countries, on all continents, including North Korea, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Far-East Russia, Transnistria, Afghanistan, Armenia, Kosovo & many more; ambassador for travelers’ website “Couchsurfing”.
  • Torch bearer and volunteer at the Sydney Olympics (2000); taught English in South Korea (2005), learned fire-dancing in Thailand (2006), extra in two Bollywood movies (2008), played rugby for Chatswood (2009), ran the Rome Marathon (2012), and guest on Cambodian finance TV show (2013).
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