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Archive for 'minimum wage'

Minimum Wages and Employment Outcomes

Last week my Unifor colleague Jordan Brennan and I published a study through the CCPA Ontario office examining the historical empirical evidence regarding the link between changes in minimum wages and employment outcomes.  We find there is no robust evidence in Canadian historical data that increases in real minimum wages cause either lower employment or higher […]

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 […]

Are Higher Minimum Wages Un-Canadian?

The debate over increasing the minimium wage, so clearly necessary to lift working incomes above the poverty line (not to mention boost consumer spending power), is heating up in many provinces.  Predictably, free-market theorists are pushng back (as they have since the concept of minimum wages was first invented over a century ago).  Here is […]

Raising Ontario’s Minimum Wage

On Friday, the United Steelworkers made the following submission to Ontario’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel. The United Steelworkers union endorses the Ontario Federation of Labour’s (OFL) call for a minimum wage of $14 per hour, to ensure that Ontarians who work full-time earn appreciably more than the poverty line. As the OFL submission states: Minimum […]

Boost the Minimum Wage, Boost the Economy

A version of this article appeared today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. (This version includes references to the debate plus charts and graphs from data specially tabulated from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The data don’t include the self-employed.) President Obama put the idea of raising the minimum wage on the radar in […]

Minimum Wage

A lot of debate in the US on Obama’s excellent proposal to hike the minimum wage. John Schmitt of CEPR has put out an excellent paper summarizing all of the research to show that the employment effects of reasonable increases are … Zero, zilch .. Due to various adjustment mechanisms including lower turnover, higher productivity […]

Raising Saskatchewan’s Minimum Wage

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour president Larry Hubich and I have the following joint op-ed in today’s Regina Leader-Post (page A10). It’s been fourteen years since I first wrote into The Leader-Post advocating a minimum-wage increase. UPDATE (August 31): The op-ed also appeared in today’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix (page A11), Wednesday’s Estevan Mercury (page A7) and Swift Current’s […]

The Right Response to “No Job Is A Bad Job”

Last May federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said there was no such thing as a bad job. The Law Commission of Ontario may disagree. This week it put out a report about the rise in vulnerable workers and precarious jobs. Now that he’s heard from executives who think Canadians are paid too much, Mr. Flaherty […]

Saskatchewan’s Rising Cost of Living

Today’s Consumer Price Index provides further evidence of Saskatchewan’s rising cost of living. Among the provinces, Saskatchewan is tied for the second-highest annual inflation rate: 2.0%. Consumer prices decreased in June from May in nine provinces (all except Alberta). But Saskatchewan was tied for the smallest monthly price decline: -0.3%. Compared to the rest of […]

Poverty in Yukon

Last week I was in Whitehorse where I released a peer-reviewed policy report on poverty in Yukon. The report was part of the much larger Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada project. Report findings include the following: -Ignoring poverty can be quite costly, as has been clearly demonstrated by research on the ‘costs of […]

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

December marked the three-year anniversary of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. While I believe there is much to celebrate, much remains to be done. The Strategy surprised a lot of observers, especially in light of the fact that it was announced in December 2008, just as Ontario was entering a recession.  Its focus was almost exclusively […]

The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax […]

Is Social Assistance a “Poverty Pariah?”

An article in the current edition of NOW Magazine looks at social assistance in Ontario. The article is aptly entitled “Poverty Pariah,” in light of how apparently unpopular Ontario’s welfare system has become over the past 20 years. As can be seen at the National Council of Welfare’s Interactive Welfare Incomes Map, a single adult […]

Retail Prices: The US vs Canada

I saw quite a lot of media coverage of  a BMO report that Canadian retail prices are 20% higher than in the US despite exchange rate parity. There were allegations of price  gouging and references to the allegedly much more intensely competitive US retail environment. I hesitate somewhat to say so in case the argument […]

Raising the Minimum Wage

Ken Battle of the Caledon Institute has written a very useful report, “Restoring Minimum Wages in Canada.” It contains a wealth of data on minimum wage trends by province since 1965  and their changing relationship to average wages and to the low income line. Battle shows that, in almost all provinces and territories,  with the […]

The Non-Simple Economics of the Minimum Wage

The National Post ran a little pro-and-con debate on minimum wages in today’s paper.  I was the “pro” side; my argument was excerpted from a longer paper on “What determines wages and income distribution” that is available on the CAW’s web site. The “con” side was written by two economists at the Fraser Institute.

Flogging a Dead Horse: The CFIB on Minimum Wage

The CFIB hav  a new study out attacking minimum wages Their estimate of job losses from a 10% increase in minimum wages is based on elasticities from studies which found significant negative impacts on employment and discounts the many studies which have found very small impacts. The OECD – which is more impartial – has […]

Economic Models and Tax Policy

Over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative (WCI), Stephen Gordon reasonably argues that economic models can be useful for policy analysis even if they lack the predictive power needed for forecasting. He writes: A well-designed model will be able to reproduce the main features of interest of the real world. More importantly, it will also be able […]

The problems with the textbook analysis of minimum wages

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the sorry state of the BC minimum wage, stuck at $8 after nine years two months and still counting. Yes, it will likely increase very soon, now that almost all leadership candidates on both sides have expressed support for higher minimum wages, but one has got to ask […]

BC’s Minimum Wage: How high should it be?

At the BC NDP convention over the weekend, Opposition Leader Carole James reiterated calls for a $10 an hour minimum wage. While $10 an hour would certainly be better than BC’s current $8 an hour (lowest in the country), I’m concerned that this campaign is stuck on a round number not what is adequate for […]

The Good Ol’ Days

My two kids are still far too young to be farmed out to earn their keep in the labour market, but when they are (in about a decade), I really hope that the value of minimum wages in Canada improves.  If not, not only are they going to have to work harder and harder to get by along […]

McGuinty Backpedals on $10 Minimum Wage

Yesterday’s Ontario budget lauded the announced minimum wage increase to $10.25 per hour on March 31, 2010. Today, media reports indicate that, “following a meeting with business leaders in Ottawa,” Ontario’s Premier is reconsidering this increase. The argument seems to be that, given hard economic times, we may not be able to afford a higher […]

Revisiting the minimum wage disemployment effects

Last Thursday the Vancouver Sun ran an opinion piece by yours truly entitled “BC’s minimum wage should not be a poverty wage.” I drew attention to the fact that between March 31 and May 1 this year, all other nine provinces increased their minimum wages and, as a result, BC now has one of the […]

Why Is Low Paid Work so Rare in Denmark?

As highlighted in the most recent version of the OECD Jobs Study, Denmark has recently managed to combine a very egalitarian distribution of wages and incomes with excellent employment and economic performance. The Danish “flexicurity” model gives the great majority of workers decent wages and working conditions, achieved though very high levels of unionization, very […]

Sources of Rising Inequality in the US

An interesting paper: Controversies about the Rise of American Inequality: A Survey by Robert J. Gordon and Ian Dew-Becker. http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~idew/papers/BPEA_final_ineq.pdf Abstract This paper provides a comprehensive survey on six aspects of rising inequality: changes in laborfs share, inequality at the bottom, inequality at the top, labor mobility, inequality in consumption as contrasted to inequality of […]

Minimum Wage and Job Retention

In another interesting presentation on research in progress at the StatsCan conference, David Green and Pierre Brochu report that increases in minimum wages in Canada are associated with significantly longer job tenure for less educated, low job tenure workers – at least for the short-term period following the minimum wage increase. One possible implication is […]

Saskatchewan Election Results: Assessing the Damage (Updated Again)

The Saskatchewan Party won 37 seats with 51% of the popular vote and the NDP won 21 seats with 37% of the vote. Obviously, the Saskatchewan Party’s victory is bad news for progressives. The provincewide figures mask significant regional variations. Outside of the main cities, the Saskatchewan Party won 27 seats with 62% of the […]

Further Progress on Minimum Wage

The Government of Saskatchewan announced increases to the minimum wage today as a step forward to providing a living wage that will assist working families and young people participate in our prosperous economy. The increase will take place in three stages that will see the minimum wage move to $8.25 per hour on January 1, […]

The Fraser Institute’s Job-Creation Strategy: Cut Wages

The Fraser Institute’s latest study of North American labour markets intends to demonstrate that public-sector employment, minimum wages, unionization, and labour laws that facilitate collective bargaining damage labour-market performance. However, its “Index of Labour Market Performance” measures the quantity of jobs with almost no regard for quality. Even this questionable index is not negatively correlated […]

Fighting Poverty Through Municipal Wage Ordinances

Progressive municipal governments in Canada should consider developing and implementing wage ordinances to boost campaigns for higher statutory minimum wages, and to help the working poor. More than 130 municipal living wage ordinances have been passed in the US since 1994, including in many big cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, Los […]