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Archive for 'economic growth'

How do you solve a problem like precarious work?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has taken quite a bit of heat for his tone deaf comments about the reality of precarious work, specifically saying that we should just “get used to job churn”. His policy prescription, an improved social safety net, is actually a valid part of the solution. But must we accept that the precarious […]

Is Slow “Growth” Inevitable?

Most of the world economy (including Canada’s) has performed sluggishly since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09.  And many economic and fiscal projections now accept this pattern of slow growth as more-or-less inevitable, as a “new normal.” This argument is typically invoked to justify a ratcheting down of expectations regarding job prospects, incomes, and public […]

How to Solve a Problem like Internal Trade Barriers?

In 1995, Canadian First Ministers signed an Agreement on Internal Trade. From the website, “Its purpose is to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investment within Canada and to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market.” Well, it turns out that agreement, although […]

Minimum wages as economic stimulus?

Update: The Alberta government has announced their timeline for getting to $15 / hour, which includes eliminating the lower minimum wage for liquor servers. The Alberta Federation of Labour has an excellent minimum wage campaign, called “15 is fair”. I provided some research support for a paper they produced on the positive economic impact of increasing […]

Jobs and Growth after the Great Recession

This is the time of year when articles list their favourite things about last year, and their “things to watch” for the next year. Naturally, my “things to watch” list will always include the labour market. Where have we seen the strongest job growth or worst job losses, and what are the trends that might […]

Making Real Change Happen

Today’s throne speech was notable for its brevity, but there were certainly a lot of priorities packed into those 1600 words. A small selection: “The Government will, as an immediate priority, deliver a tax cut for the middle class.” This is quite easily my least favourite action promised by the new Liberal government. The plan increases the […]

#HarperEconomy: From Worst to … Worster?

As this marathon election campaign enters its final days, it is interesting to look back on the evolution of the economic debate during the past 11 weeks on the hustings.  The Harper Conservatives once again tried to play the “economic card,” claiming their policies are essential to Canada’s future growth and prosperity.  But this time, […]

Balanced Budget Myopia Breaks Both Ways

Opinions on deficit budgeting have become a short-hand litmus test in Canadian politics. Deficits are left-wing and balanced budgets are right-wing austerity.  Economists know that there is virtually no difference between a small surplus and a small deficit, but politicians and voters are a different story. I have spent the past three and half years railing […]

Canada After Harper

Here is the link to buy a new book, Canada After Harper,  edited by Ed Finn and with an introduction by Ralph Nader, just published by Lorimer. Most Canadians know that Stephen Harper has had a tremendous impact on the country since becoming prime minister in 2006. But few have the in-depth knowledge of how […]

Canada: World’s Next Superpower? Only If We Stop Relying On Temporary Foreign Workers

It’s only been a couple of weeks since Disney, that most iconic of American companies, moved to displace all its home grown techies with low-cost foreign temporary workers. But the company had to beat a hasty retreat in the face of an outpouring of criticism. Amid the deluge of commentary this story triggered about where […]

Judging the Odds for an “Election Recession”

Canada’s first-quarter GDP report was not just “atrocious,” as predicted by Stephen Poloz.  It was downright negative: total real GDP shrank at an annualized rate of 0.6% (fastest pace of decline since the 2008-09 recession).  Nominal GDP fell faster (annualized rate of 3%), as deflation took hold across the broader production economy (led, of course, […]

Is another recession on its way?

Is another recession on its way? Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor, Laurentian University Co-editor, Review of Keynesian Economics   Canada’s economy shrank in the first quarter by a whopping 0.6%. Is this the beginning of a new recession? Recessions of course are defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Now we learn today that Canada’s […]

Guest Blog from Kim Pollock: Stagnation Without End

We are pleased to present this guest commentary from Kim Pollock, a former union researcher based in B.C. and Saskatchewan. Now retired, Kim is investigating various aspects of Canada’s economic performance.  A longer version of this paper will be presented by him at the upcoming Society for Socialist Studies meetings in Ottawa, and can be obtained […]

Should we be taxing the rich 1% more?

Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor, Laurentian Economics Founding Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon   Originally published by CBC. Find commentary here.   The federal Liberal Party’s recent election promise to create a new tax bracket for rich Canadians has been quickly decried by – well, rich Canadians. But is it an […]

ROCHON on: A tale of two economies? Making sense of recent US and Canadian labour market data

Louis-Philippe ROCHON Associate Professor, Laurentian University Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon   With data on the performance of Canada’s labour market released today, many economists and pundits on both sides of the 49th parallel are arguing that what seems to be emerging is two very clear and different paths for […]

Thinking Through the Fall-Out of Lower Oil Prices

Canada’s economic and fiscal debates in recent months have been dominated by the possible impacts of the sudden fall in oil prices since last autumn on growth, employment, and fiscal balances.  Finance Minister Joe Oliver delayed the budget, the Bank of Canada shocked markets with a rate cut, and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice is now […]

G20 meeting of world finance ministers too little too late

Posted earlier as an opinion piece for CBC.  See original post here (this post slightly modified from original) By Louis-Philippe Rochon Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon   Much was at stake earlier this week when finance ministers from G20 countries met in Istanbul to discuss Greece and the state of the world economy in light of recent […]

ROCHON: Greece, Syriza and the Euro

This is a guest blog post from Louis-Philippe Rochon. Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon. — What a tumultuous few weeks we witnessed in Greece. Though the victory of Syriza was ill-received in particular in Germany and the European Central Bank, it was nonetheless a resounding victory for democracy. This victory may now spill into other […]

ROCHON: Harper in closet over the economy as Canada heads toward another recession

This guest blog post has been written by Louis-Philippe Rochon. You can follow him on Twitter @Lprochon – Harper’s recent incarnation as an anti-terrorist crusader has caught many Canadians by surprise. Harper is spending considerable political energy beating the drums of war against terrorists, and introducing a far-reaching, and much condemned, bill aimed at restricting […]

Rochon Asks: “Is the Canadian economy unraveling?”

In a recent CBC blog post, Louis-Philippe Rochon assesses the current state of the Canadian economy. The link to the blog post is here. Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

Low Oil Prices, Good or Bad for Canada?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’re probably well aware that the price of oil has fallen dramatically, to less than $50 / barrel. What this means for Canada’s economic output & labour markets is not yet clear. But Stephen Poloz at the Bank of Canada has said that he expects the effect to […]

Louis-Philippe Rochon’s Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015

Louis-Philippe Rochon has written a provocative blog post for the CBC titled “Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015.” The post is available here.

Five Good Economic Developments in 2014

Every year has its ups and downs, of course. But there’s something about New Year’s that makes one naturally want to emphasize the positive.  So here is my personal list of 5 positive economic developments from the year past — both globally and right here at home – that warmed this particular economist’s left-wing heart in […]

Bank of Canada, Exports, and LMI

Much has been made about Stephen Poloz’s decision to abandon ‘forward guidance’ in Bank of Canada rate setting announcements for the time being. Critics bemoan the loss of direction from the Bank. But Poloz’s comments yesterday were chock full of guidance on how the Bank sees Canada’s economic situation. Having been disappointed by the failure […]

Who’s afraid of free trade with Europe?

The prospect of freer trade with European nations is generally popular among Canadians. And why shouldn’t it be? Doesn’t the Canadian left repeatedly point to the advantages of many European social and economic institutions? Who could argue with lower prices for European cheese, wine, or chocolate? After all, we’ve been waiting for years for the […]

More on Secular Stagnation

Here is the link to a piece I wrote for the Globe on line this week re an interesting new eBook on secular stagnation.  I am struck by the fact that several eminently mainstream economists, mainly in the US but also Blanchard at the IMF,  see a need for public investment to drive growth, given […]

Andrea Horwath’s Debacle

I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud when I saw election results. I almost spat a mouthful of my breakfast across the room. Almost nobody expected Ontario’s Liberals to win a majority, least of all the NDP’s Andrea Horwath. Her decision to pull the plug on the Wynne government has to go […]

On the job: Why unions matter

The Parkland Institute is releasing a report on why unions matter. I contributed to the report, which was spurred by Alberta government restrictions on collective bargaining and anti-union labour law. Perhaps not surprising for readers of this blog, we found that labour unions play an important role in improving wages, improving workplace safety, and reducing inequality […]

More on Secular Stagnation

Tom Palley has an interesting piece on his blog re differing approaches to the theme of secular stagnation, drawing a distinction between Marxist and structural Keynesian perspectives. As he notes, neo liberals such as Summers  have got on the bandwagon without really exploring in depth the roots of the problem.

The Entrepreneurial State

 In her important new book “The Entrepreneurial State” which got a rave review from Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, University of Sussex economist Mariana Mazzucato attacks the conventional view that the role of the state should be largely confined to promoting free markets, correcting market failures, and maintaining a low spending, pro free enterprise […]