Dean Parham is an expert on Australia’s productivity performance, long associated with Australia’s Productivity Commission. From 1997, Dean developed and led the Commission’s flagship program of productivity research to monitor and explain productivity trends and to assess what they meant for growth in the living standards of Australians. This work has brought together theory, empirics and understanding of the measurement of productivity. The research program involved collaboration with statistical agencies, other government departments, international organisations, academics and research groups. The research has been published in numerous Commission papers, journal articles and conference papers and has been widely cited in policy discussions.

Dean left the Productivity Commission in 2008. Since then, he has continued to investigate productivity trends and to teach others about the intricacies of analysing productivity from a public policy perspective. The research has been in association with a number of government, academic and private-sector agencies. He has given productivity classes and workshops at the Australian National University, government agencies and the Asian Productivity Organisation.

Dean has over 40 years of experience in undertaking and leading high-quality applied economic research, broadly on the theme of exploring the microeconomic foundations of better economic performance. He graduated with an honours degree in economics from the University of Adelaide. He commenced with the Industries Assistance Commission, Canberra, in 1975. He has also worked at the IMPACT Project, Melbourne, the OECD, Paris, and the Industry Commission, Canberra.


Current positions:
  • Productivity research and economic consultancy
  • (Non-resident) Research Fellow, University of Adelaide
  • Expert, measurement of public sector productivity, Asian Productivity Organisation (occasional)
Previous positions:
  • Specialist adviser, Bureau of Communications Research
  • Visiting Scholar, New Zealand Productivity Commission
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Crawford School, Australian National University
  • Research adviser to the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics
  • Visiting Researcher, Australian Productivity Commission
  • Specialist Adviser, Commonwealth Treasury
  • Senior Advisor, Concept Economics
  • Head, General Research Branch, Australian Productivity Commission

Previous professional appointments:

  • Member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Productivity Monitor
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Comparative Analysis of Enterprise (Micro) Data international forum 
  •  Vice-Chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Industry Analysis 
Journal referee:
  • Economic Record
  • Journal of Productivity Analysis
  • Australian Economic Review
  • Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
  • Economic Papers
  • Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies
  • Agenda