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Archive for 'prices'

Rental Housing in Yellowknife

Yesterday I blogged about rental housing in Yellowknife, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site.  Specifically, I blogged about a recent announcement by the city’s largest for-profit landlord that it plans to “tighten” its policies vis-a-vis renting to recipients of “income assistance” (which, in most parts of Canada, is known generically as social assistance).  […]

Dutch Disease, Prices and Wages in Saskatchewan

Jim Stanford recently pointed out that many of the conservative economists who had defended the overvalued loonie have quickly shifted to applauding its depreciation. The Government of Saskatchewan may be making a similar conversion on the road to Damascus. When federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair expressed concern about Dutch disease, premier Brad Wall denied that […]

Glass-House Mortgages

A letter appears in today’s Globe and Mail in response to recent direction given by Minister Flaherty to private mortgage lenders over mortgage rates.  The letter was written by Steve Pomeroy, one of Canada’s leading housing policy experts. Here is the full text of the letter: – Glass-house mortgages Twice in recent weeks, the Minister […]

Baskin-Robbins and the Walmartization of Ice Cream

It’s been an unusually hot summer, and soaring temperatures have boosted sales of that quintessential summer food, ice cream. But Baskin-Robbins has decided to shut its production facility in Peterborough, Ont., and lay off 80 workers because of…wait for it… increased demand! From the department of “wait, what?”, here’s the scoop behind this brain-freeze-inducing decision. […]

The Privatization of Social Housing

Last weekend, I spoke on a panel at the Annual Conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.  The panel was inspired in large part by the recent debate in Toronto over Mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to sell social housing units to private buyers.  The panel, entitled “To Privatize or Not to Privatize? That is the question,” included myself, Vince Brescia (President and CEO […]

Stephen Gordon on Manufacturing

Over at Economy Lab, Stephen Gordon writes: The fundamental problem facing manufacturing firms is that the [industrial] prices have been growing more slowly than consumer prices. CPI inflation has averaged 1.85 per cent a year since 2002, but the Industrial Price Index for all manufactures has only increased at a rate of 1 per cent. […]

A hip hop version of the Keynes vs Hayek debate

Here’s a new take on bringing economic theory to the masses — a rap battle between Keynes and Hayek. What’s amazing about it is the amount of solid (if not plain nerdy) content this video packs into such a short time. It’s fun to watch for sure (very high production values), but you get that […]

Should Students Pay One Flat Fee for a Degree?

Yesterday afternoon, Alex Usher–who regularly blogs for the Globe and Mail on post-secondary education–blogged about an innovative concept proposed by the (now ousted) Liberal Party in New Brunswick’s recent provincial election campaign.  The proposal is for universities to charge students one flat fee for the cost of a degree.  Usher argues in favour of this move on […]

What Would Bubbles Do?

Many blog readers are no doubt aware that, late last month, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a paper by David Macdonald entitled “Canada’s Housing Bubble:  An Accident Waiting to Happen.” As the title suggests, Macdonald argues: Canada is experiencing, for the first time in the last 30 years, a synchronized housing bubble across […]

Warning: Credit Card Use May be Harmful (to Your Country’s Income Distribution)

Ah plastic. What’s not to love? Convenient? Check. Light in the pocket? Check. Monthly bill summaries? Check. Free short-term credit? Check (provided you pay your bills in full, on time). Benefits (free car rental insurance, points, cash back etc): Check AND… Take from the poor and give to the rich? err… wait a minute. Unfortunately, […]

The OECD and Price Level Targetting

The Bank of Canada is currently considering, through research, a shift from inflation targeting to price level path targeting. For previous blog commentary and a good critique by Jim see http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2006/12/03/bank-of-canada-inflation-targeting/ The general idea is that if inflation exceeds the target of 2% in any given year, the future price level path should be kept […]

Law of one price

OK, not the “law of one price” you learned in undergrad trade theory. I’m talking about plain old prices at the cashier. It has long bugged me that the price listed on a sales tag is not the same as the money that comes out of our wallets to complete the transaction. Most of the […]

It’s Time to Cut Interest Rates

Today’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) release reveals that inflation has dipped to 2.4% and core inflation has fallen to 1.8%, its lowest level since June 2006. These figures undermine the argument that interest rates should be maintained to slow inflation. As the National Post reports, “A weaker-than-expected rise in the inflation rate for October could […]

Capitalism and Voluntarism

The whole idea of the free-market is that the relentless pursuit of self-interest leads people to do greedy things that ultimately benefit all of us. That’s what makes it so humorous to see that appeals to voluntarism have become one of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s major policy tools. At least there was a bit of […]

Harmonizing Sales Taxes: The Spending Power in Action

Three weeks ago, I wrote, “Budget 2007 used the federal spending power quite aggressively to pay provincial governments to eliminate their Corporate Capital Taxes. A similar use of the power will be needed if the Conservatives are serious about harmonizing provincial sales taxes with the GST.” The front page of Friday’s National Post reported, “The […]

Op Ed on Retail Profits from Today’s Globe

Greed, gouging and bad citizenship KEN GEORGETTI Special to Globe and Mail Update October 17, 2007 at 11:34 PM EDT What have Canadians gained from our loonie’s parity with the U.S. greenback? A more valuable currency should make the things we buy from other countries cheaper. But, over the past five years, as the value […]

Economic and Social Impacts of Wage Floors

Leading Canadian economist Richard Lipsey (with co author Swedenboorg) has written quite an interesting paper for the NBER, “Explaining Product Price Differences Across Countries.” http://www.nber.org/papers/w13239 The abstract reads as follows: “A substantial part of international differences in prices of individual products, both goods and services, can be explained by differences in per capita income, wage […]