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Poverty Reduction in Alberta

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Poverty Reduction in Alberta.”

Points raised in the blog post include the following:

-The NDP government of Premier Rachel Notley has undertaken important poverty-reduction initiatives since forming a government in 2015.

-Alberta (relative to other provinces) has a considerable amount  of income concentrated among a small group of households.  We use StatCan data to support this claim.

-Alberta continues to have the lowest level of taxation of any provincial government.

-Relative to other Canadian provinces, Alberta has very little public debt.

The link to the full blog post is here.

Comments

Comment from Edgardo Sepulveda
Time: February 17, 2017, 9:46 pm

Hello Nick:

Thanks for link to the blog. I like the emphasis in paragraph 7 on social assistance. As I showed in my post last year http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2016/01/20/redistribution-inequality-and-federal-policy-guest-post-by-edgardo-sepulveda/, cash transfers are the most effective means to reduce after-tax income inequality.

Looking at the Caledon Institute report, I was surprised at the differential between Alberta Works (AW) and AISH benefit levels and how each of these compare to other provinces.

So what is the specific political “ask” in paragraph 7? Is it advocating an increase in AW benefit levels and/or AISH benefit levels? Or is it to make it easier to qualify to AISH? Or all of the above?

And more from an economics perspective, what are thoughts on the order of magnitude impacts on social welfare of each initiative? Given how absolutely/relatively low they are, an increase in AW benefit levels would be at the top of the list?

Comment from Nick Falvo
Time: February 18, 2017, 12:54 pm

Thanks for the comment, Edgardo.

We intentionally weren’t prescriptive in the post. Rather, we felt it was important to put some information in front of people and encourage discussion.

That said, you’ve just given us some ideas for one or more blog posts in the future. 🙂

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