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Archive for 'inequality'

Guaranteed Annual Income

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about Canada’s guaranteed annual income debate.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -There are people and groups on both the left and right of the political spectrum who favour a Guaranteed Annual […]

Federal Income Support for Low-Income Seniors

Over at the Behind the Numbers web site, Allan Moscovitch, David Macdonald and I have a blog post titled “Ten Things to Know About Federal Income Support for Low-Income Seniors in Canada.” The blog post argues—among other things—that if the age of eligibility for Old Age Security were to move from 65 to 67, the […]

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 […]

Redistribution, Inequality, and Federal Policy: Guest Post by Edgardo Sepulveda

We are pleased to present this rich guest post by a new PEF member, Edgardo Sepulveda. Edgardo has been a consulting economist for more than two decades advising Governments and operators in more than 40 countries on telecommunications policy and regulation matters ( Redistribution, Inequality and the new Federal Tax & Transfer initiatives I want […]

First Nations Education is critical social infrastructure

Many Canadians know that the federal government is responsible for funding social services, health care, education and income supports on First Nations reserves. Few people realize that the escalator for these transfer payments has been frozen at 2% per year since 1996, without consideration for population growth or need. According to the Assembly of First Nations, by […]

The Myth of STEM Degrees: STEM as the Canary in the Coal Mine

What follow is a guest blog post from Glenn Burley: – If Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and professional fields like medicine, law, and dentistry are the so-called golden ticket to a good job in today’s labour market, what does that say about the current and future health of our economy? The myth of […]

Wages: Up, Down, or Sideways?

We’re coming up to a Federal Election, and one where “The Economy” will likely be a central battlefield. As such, we’re going to hear many claims and counter-claims that support the view that Stephen Harper is either the Greatest or Worst Prime Minister ever. One point of contention is wages. Part of the problem are the […]

Inequality, the Financial Crisis and Stagnation: Competing Stories and Why They Matter

Inequality, the Financial Crisis and Stagnation: Competing Stories and Why They Matter Thomas Palley There exists several mainstream explanations of the financial crisis and stagnation, each explaianing the role they respectively attribute to income inequality. Those explanations contrast deeply with a structural Keynesian explanation of the crisis. The role of income inequality also differs substantially, […]

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 […]

The Return of the Gilded Age: Consequences, Causes and Solutions

On April 8, I had the honour of delivering the Harry Kitchen Lecture in Public Policy at the invitation of the Department of Economics at Trent University. I took the opportunity to offer a broad reflection on economic inequality, arguing that while inequality is inherent in capitalism, too much inequality undermines economic as well as […]

Doubling Contributions To The Tax Free Savings Account: Even Nastier Than Income Splitting

The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it’s clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards — for individual Canadians  as well as for the economy […]

Indigenous Workers in Canada

Labour market data in Canada is easily available by sex, age, and region. We spend a great deal of time talking about these factors. More recently Statistics Canada made labour market data available on CANSIM by landed immigrant status, going back to 2006. This factor is less often included in most labour market analysis, and […]

Is r>g in Canada?

Here is a little bit of rainy day economic doodling that may be of interest. Piketty famously argues that there is a tendency for r – the rate of return on capital- to exceed g- the rate of growth of income. If r>g, wealth and income inequality will grow inexorably since ownership of capital and […]

Alex Usher is Wrong on Tuition Fees

Earlier today, over at the Academic Matters web site, I addressed the issue of whether Canada’s current system of high tuition fees and means-tested student aid is in fact “progressive.”  My post was a response to a Alex Usher‘s May 9 blog post.  My blog post can be found here.

Review of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty (Belknap Press, 2014) is the economics publishing sensation of our times, especially in the United States. Currently the number one seller on the US Amazon web site and widely debated in the “blogosphere”, this long book is being favourably compared to the seminal works of Adam Smith, […]

Pikkety on Capital in the 21st Century (Tom Palley)

I have just finished Piketty’s magnum opus which is clearly one of the most important economic books of our time. I am still trying to digest the theoretical argument. Below I provide a link and intro to an important commentary by Tom Palley who argues that Pikkety is too close to the neo classical paradigm […]

Flaherty’s Legacy: Ideological, reckless and just plain lucky

This piece was originally published at the Globe and Mail’s online Report on Business feature, EconomyLab.   There are two reasons why it is difficult to comment on the legacy of a finance minister. 1) It is a tremendously challenging job, anywhere, any time. Stewarding one of the largest economies in the world through a […]

IWD 2014: The “girl effect” reduces inequality, but Canada can’t coast on that much longer

Every year when International Women’s Day rolls by, I can’t help but reflect on power, how it’s shared, and how women use the power they have. This year, I am struck by women’s power to reduce inequality, and not just to help ourselves. Women are key to reducing income inequality. It’s been dubbed the girl effect, […]

The labour share and income inequality

All the recent talk about the Canada’s shrinking middle class and rising income inequality got me thinking that it might be a good time to take a fresh look at a somewhat neglected economic concept: the labour share of income. The labour share of income hopes to measure the portion of the economic pie going […]

Why the Minimum Wage Debate Isn’t Going to Go Away

Yesterday I tweeted this: <blink> Gap will raise minimum hourly pay Walmart “looking” at support of min wage raise In honour of the momentum, I am posting the piece I wrote for Economy Lab a while back, and including the numbers that drive the chart that attracted quite a lot of attention. There is a […]

Income Splitting Déjà Vu

This blog’s unofficial slogan has been “Tomorrow’s conventional wisdom, today.” After this week’s Conservative backpedaling on income splitting, we may need to change it to “Today’s conventional wisdom, seven years ago.” Or we could just stick with “You read it here first.” My first-ever blog post, Income Splitting Redux, argued that this tax policy “would benefit […]

Collective Bargaining and Poverty Reduction: OECD Data

My union Unifor is currently undertaking an important “Rights at Work” campaign, which involves a national tour of meetings with our officers and local leaders and stewards, followed by a membership canvass and community outreach effort, all aimed at beating back the current attack on fundamental labour rights coming from conservatives at all levels in […]

Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

This afternoon I gave a presentation to Professor Ted Jackson’s graduate seminar course on higher education, taught in Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.  The link to my slide deck, titled “The Political Economy of Post-Secondary Education in Canada,” can be found here. Points I raised in the presentation include the following: -Tuition […]

Canada’s Luxury Index is through the roof

Numbers season is over but good inequality data is still missing. January sees us regularly bombarded with a whole range of economic statistics about the previous year. GDP growth: likely 1.7%, low but looking brighter for next year. Unemployment: 7.2%, low but lots of workers leaving the job market altogether as the employment rate stagnates. […]

The relentlessly hypocritical Gwyn Morgan

Another column by Gwyn Morgan in the Globe and Mail and another case of a 0.1 percenter telling the rest of us to “Do as I say, not as I do.” This time, it’s Gwyn recycling trash from the CFIB and Fraser Institute to claim defined benefit pensions for public sector workers are too generous […]

Trickle Down Would Work If It Weren’t For The Sponges At The Top

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. Five years after a global economic crisis unleashed chaos on markets everywhere, income inequality has become an inescapable political and economic issue, in Canada as elsewhere. That’s because of mounting evidence that the increasingly skewed distribution of gains from economic growth slows future growth potential, […]

When Good Data Goes Bad: The NHS2011

This piece was  published today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.  Two findings stand out in the National Household Survey (NHS) data released Wednesday, both critical in this post-recession era of uncertainty: 1) A quarter of Canadian households spent 30 per cent or more of their pre-tax income on shelter, the official measure of housing affordability. […]

Funding Cuts to Alberta’s PSE Sector: There Are Alternatives

It has recently been reported that the University of Alberta wants to “reopen two-year collective agreements” with faculty and staff “to help the university balance its budget…” This appears to be in direct response to Alberta’s provincial government announcing in its March budget that there would be a “7% cut to operating grants to universities, […]

Linda McQuaig for Toronto Centre

For the “You Read It Here First” file, I wrote on Friday: Toronto Centre needs a candidate with a track record of advancing more substantive and more progressive positions on economic issues. Specifically, the NDP should nominate someone who can take on Freeland regarding inequality and what to do about it. Today, Linda McQuaig announced […]

Is Chrystia Freeland Progressive?

Chrystia Freeland, The Globe and Mail’s candidate in Toronto Centre, recently wrote a book about inequality (which I have not yet read) and is supposed to “bring fresh thinking to the Liberal Party’s economic team.” She has already attracted a few jabs from right-wingers Terence Corcoran and William Watson. But is she progressive? The Globe […]