Before his academic career, Max worked as an accountant and auditor for PwC and Macquarie Bank. His PhD thesis won the 2014 international Emerald award for the best PhD in interdisciplinary accounting and since has published a number of articles in top-tier academic journals. In 2016, Max co-authored a Nation-Wide investigation into the costs, performance and accountability of Australian private prisons. As an active commentator on prison policy reform, Max is often asked to provide expert testimony and submissions to relevant government inquiries. To communicate his research more broadly Max writes newspaper articles and has appeared on TV and radio. He serves on the editorial board of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal and Accounting and Business Research and is an Associate Editor of ABACUS. Recently, Max won the Mary Follett Award for most outstanding paper in Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal.
Costs, Performance and Accountability of Private Prisons
Various state governments across Australia have turned to privatisation as a way of dealing with the often difficult provision of public services.
Along with Associate Professor Jane Andrew, Dr Max Baker has been at the forefront of reviewing the rolling out of privatisation as a policy response to growing prison costs. Their 2016 report on the state of play of all private prisons in Australia has become a highly cited report in the field. The report formed a reliable base for understanding prison costs, performance and accountability across the sector. The team has also provided research to a number of parliamentary inquiries into prisons across the country.
Max continues to review contracts, reports and inquiries, as well as conduct interviews with key stakeholders in prisons in order to understand the impact of changes in prison policy more broadly. Through conducting this research Max has produced high quality academic papers and book chapters on the topic.
Technology and Accountability
It is generally assumed that technology has improved transparency of powerful companies and governments. The digital age has made the distribution of large amounts of information frictionless. This has facilitated the mass leaking of government cables and documents as well as the exposure of tax havens. Dr Baker’s research explores what having these documents in the public domain means for accountability and democracy more generally and whether having access to such deep and controversial records actually leads to positive change. His research in the field involves reading hundreds of cables and analyzing these both in relation to other sources of information, as well as in relation to changes in NGO activism, regulation and laws.
Max is also interested in the hidden accumulation and trade of data on individuals – namely Big Data. The Internet has made it possible for billions of gigabytes (exabytes) of personal information to be accumulated every year. Research has tended to focus on the promise of big data to solve complex societal and business problems. In doing this big data, in concert with powerful algorithms, have made habits, behaviours and psychological traits of whole populations highly predictable. Dr Baker is interested in what this increased predictability means for individual privacy, rights and democracy more generally. He continues to write academic papers and media pieces on the topic.
- ACCT3012 Management Accounting B
- ACCT3020 Advanced Issues in Management Accounting
- ACCT3032 Current Issues in Management Accounting
- ACCT5002 Managerial Accounting and Decision Making
- BUSS4112 Accounting Honours A
- Data Breach Disclosure Rules and Practices: Is it time for a more comprehensive data breach disclosure framework?, Andrew J, Baker M, Sydney Business School/Pilot Research Scheme
- The impact of accountability and transparency on the practices of prison officers in Australia and Scotland. , Andrew J, Cooper C, Baker M, Tweedie J, Office of Global Engagement/Partnership Collaboration Awards
- An investigation into the use of performance measures in private prisons: A national review, Baker M, Andrew J, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand/Research Grant
- The Costs, Performance, Efficiency and Accountability of Australian Private Prisons, Andrew J, Baker M, Sydney Business School/Business School Research Awards
In the media
- Inside Parklea: the deadly consequences of Australia's private prison boom [20 Nov 2018]
The Feed SBS
The Feed SBS interviewed Associate Professor Jane Andrew and Dr Max Baker from the Business School about the impact of privatisation on Australia's prisons.