Income Inequality Surged Under Harper

Just as Conservatives gathered to elect a new leader, Statistics Canada released income data for 2015. These allow us to look at trends under the full term of the Harper Government from 2006 to 2015. Average after tax income of economic families rose over this period – from $68,200 to $76,900 in inflation-adjusted dollars. But the gains were very unfairly […]

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Advocacy in Canada’s Affordable Housing and Homelessness Sectors

I’ve just written a blog post on advocacy in Canada’s affordable housing and homelessness sectors. In the post, I define advocacy as “a collective effort to bring about changes to political priorities, funding levels, legislation, regulations or policies.” I also discuss seven approaches to advocacy in Canada’s affordable housing and homelessness sectors. The full blog post can be found at […]

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A Response to the 2017 Saskatchewan Budget

I have an opinion piece on Saskatchewan’s recent budget in the Regina Leader-Post. Points raised in the opinion piece include the following: -Reductions in personal and corporate income taxes help the rich more than the poor (and this budget cut both personal and corporate income taxes). -Increases in sales tax hurt the poor more than the rich (and this budget […]

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Ontario’s Electricity Sector II: Political Economy Update

This is a third guest post by Edgardo Sepulveda, who is a Toronto-based expert in telecommunications and regulatory economics.  Twitter: @E_R_Sepulveda   By Edgardo Sepulveda In my previous post of January 29 I described how decisions by different Ontario governments gave rise to excess electricity generation with an inflated cost structure, leading to higher electricity prices and increased inequality. Since […]

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The Alternative Federal Budget 2017

This year’s Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) was released on March 9. I was proud to be the primary author of its housing chapter (that chapter is available in English here and in French here). The first AFB exercise began in 1994, with the first AFB being published in 1995. That involved a joint effort between the Canadian Centre for Policy […]

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Alberta Alternative Budget 2017

Media Release Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget released today (March 14, 2017-Edmonton) Today, a coalition of researchers, economists, and members of civil society released a plan to boost Alberta’s economic growth while reducing income inequality. “For too long Alberta’s public services have been strained from decades of underfunding and reliance on volatile energy markets,” said contributing economist Robin Shaban, […]

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Public Policy and Homelessness: The Case of Calgary

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Public Policy and Homelessness:  The Case of Calgary.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Calgary experienced explosive growth in the size of its homeless population from the mid-1990s until 2008. -Though causation is hard to establish, the following factors likely had […]

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Poverty Reduction in Alberta

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 […]

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The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction

I’m co-author of a blog post titled “The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has been tasked to lead the development of a Canada Poverty Reduction Strategy. -Total public social spending in Canada (as a % of GDP) is well below the OECD average. […]

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Ontario’s Electricity Sector: Privatization and deregulation

We’re pleased to present this very topical post by Edgardo Sepulveda examining what has caused Ontario’s rising high electricity prices. This is Edgardo’s second guest post as a PEF member, following his, first, which was an analysis of the impact of fiscal policy changes on post-tax income distribution.  Edgardo has been an international consulting economist and expert advising Governments and operators […]

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Ten things to know about the CPP debate

This fall, Canada’s Parliament will debate a proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).  And over at the Behind the Numbers web site, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Ten things to know about the CPP debate.” The blog post’s other co-authors are Allan Moscovitch and Richard Lochead. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -CPP […]

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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 Income (also known as a […]

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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 minimum wages, which you can […]

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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 (www.esepulveda.com). Redistribution, Inequality and the new Federal Tax & Transfer initiatives I want to present an analysis of […]

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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 2011 this resulted in an […]

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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 units of measurement and analysis […]

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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, giving rise to very different […]

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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 appropriate and sensible approach to […]

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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 as a whole. Let’s unpack the […]

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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 too few know that it […]

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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 claims on income from capital […]

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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. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He has […]

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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, David Ricardo, and Karl Marx […]

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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, more powerful than the Internet, […]

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