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Archive for 'rankings'

Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference.  My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link. Points I raised in the address include the following: -Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts […]

“Differentiation:” The à-la-carte Way to Hire More Course Instructors

I’ve written before about attempts in Canada to create more separation between university teaching, on the one hand, and university research, on the other. In 2009, I wrote this opinion piece about an attempt by five university presidents to each acquire a larger share of university research dollars. And last year, I blogged here about […]

2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities

The 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) was released on Monday. Because it’s compiled by Shanghai Jiaotong University, it’s commonly known as “the Shanghai ranking.”  As I recently blogged about here,  the methodologies used in global university rankings typically advantage English-language universities. This year’s Shanghai ranking confirms this: 20 of the Top 25 universities in the ARWU are located […]

S&P Pantsed by US Treasury

I have been reluctant to condemn the credit-rating agencies for sovereign downgrades because it seemed like shooting the messenger. As the bond markets have noticed, a few European countries have serious fiscal problems. Blaming the raters for also noticing did not seem like an effective response. However, I think that Standard and Poor’s decision – […]

Global University Rankings

The European University Association (EUA) recently released a report they’d commissioned entitled Global University Rankings and Their Impact. The report was written by Andrejs Rauhvargers. According to the EAU, one of their major motivations in commissioning the report was that their member universities are “often under pressure to appear in the rankings, or to improve their position in […]

Mintz: Wrong Again on Corporate Taxes

Ten days ago, Jack Mintz released yet another paper claiming that international competitiveness requires continued corporate tax cuts. In addition to the usual questionable interpretations, it featured at least one straight factual error. Mintz inaccurately reports Iceland’s 2010 statutory corporate tax rate as 15% (Table 2 on page 7 and Table 3 on page 9 […]

OECD Corporate Tax Rates: Does Size Matter?

Advocates of corporate tax cuts like comparing Canada to an unweighted average of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development members. Since the OECD keeps admitting more microscopic economies with very low corporate tax rates, this average keeps falling regardless of whether any country actually lowers its rate. Last year’s admission of Estonia, Israel and Slovenia […]

The World Bank’s Slippery Advocacy of Tax Cuts

Doing Business enjoys the highest circulation of any World Bank publication. It ranks countries based on the favourability of their regulations to business. It is like the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom and the Cato/Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Report, but supported by the World Bank’s credibility and clout. (Notwithstanding corporate Canada’s […]

Reflections on The Spirit Level

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, is an important book. It is not a huge tome, as one might expect from such a broad topic, weighing in at just 265 pages of text (including lots of figures mapping inequality against some health and social […]

Dangerous delusions about corporate income tax cuts

For years we have been asking Stephen Gordon to provide the evidence for lower corporate taxes. Like Stephen I like the Nordic model and take away from it that tax mix matters, so funding a large public sector may require more than taxes on “people we do not know” (ie corporations and the rich), so […]

KPMG on Corporate Taxes

Yesterday, I appeared on CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange regarding corporate taxes in response to Ignatieff’s announcement and KPMG’s 2010 Competitive Alternatives report. (To watch the video, search for “lang”, click “Most recent”, select March 31, and go 13 minutes in.) My co-panellist, John Risley, seemed more interested in talking about the “dinosauric” nature of […]

From a Woman’s Perspective: Canada’s Place in the World

Today’s day-after-International-Women’s-Day story in the New York Times by Nancy Folbre links to four indices of gender equity. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/08/the-worlds-best-countries-for-women/ How is Canada doing? Canada ranks 4th in the Human Development Index (we were number one for eight years) as well as the UNDP Gender Development Index, behind Norway, Australia and Iceland. Norway has been ranked […]

Harper’s Mystery Chart

The first chart in today’s Third Report on the Economic Action Plan (Chart 1.1, page 8 ) appears to show that Canada is tied with Japan for the largest stimulus package in the G-7. Exactly the same bar graph appeared in the Second Report back in June (Chart 1.2, page 12). While this seemingly impressive […]

Tax Competitiveness 2009: Flogging a Dead Horse

Should we care that the marginal effective tax rate on capital is higher in Prince Edward Island than in Serbia? Of course, this question is a joke. But the C. D. Howe Institute actually did put out a press release (PDF) last week singling out PEI for its allegedly high business taxes compared to an […]

How Low Can Canadian Business Taxes Go?

Canada has the third-lowest business taxes of ten countries examined in a study released as part of KPMG’s 2008 Competitive Alternatives report. The spin from KPMG has been that “If the provinces follow the federal lead and reduce their rates as well, Canada’s advantage will be enhanced.” Canadians should be asking a different question. If we […]

International Corporate Tax Rates

Canada’s corporate-income-tax rates are fairly low compared to other G-7 countries. Advocates of further Canadian corporate-tax cuts have responded to this reality in two ways. First, they promote alternative measures indicating that corporate taxes are higher in Canada than elsewhere. Second, they compare Canada to a much broader range of countries. In the latter vein, The […]

KPMG on Corporate Taxes

On Wednesday, The Globe and Mail ran the headline, “Taxes Are Falling, But Not Here: Global Business Tax Rates Are Dropping, But Canada’s Remain High, KPMG Report Finds,” immediately above a table showing Canadian corporate taxes to be within the lower half of G8 countries. Today, The Globe printed the letter from yours truly that […]

We Are The Champions! (Except for Iceland)

Having just finished arguing that inequality is an inevitable result of personal marriage decisions, William Watson has declared Canadians the “strike champs” of the OECD in today’s Financial Post. A new British study suggests that labour disputes cost about 200 days per 1,000 workers per year in Canada, which is apparently far more than in […]

Ezra Klein on the health of nations

In the American Prospect, Ezra Klein compares five countries’ health care systems (hat tip to Mark Thoma). in spite of his general defence of Canada, there are a few areas where I think he gets it wrong and I have added in some comments in those places. The Health of Nations Here’s how Canada, France, […]

The kids are alright (in Scandinavia)

Some factiods on the well-being of children from a recent UNICEF report (hat tip here). The Nordics are generally at the top of the list; Canada is number 12; the US and UK round out the bottom of the 21 countries on the list. Way to go, Scandinavia – with your high taxes, generous social […]

Prosperity and sustainability

UBC’s David Boyd takes on dinosaur-in-chief Terence Corcoran on the nexus between environment and economy, and Canada’s lagging rankings: Old ideas produce heat, not light … The myth that nations must choose between economic prosperity and a healthy environment has been conclusively debunked.Countries including Sweden, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands are similar to Canada with […]

TILMA’s Bogus Math

The Government of British Columbia has finally released the Conference Board study projecting that TILMA will add $4.8 billion to the provincial economy. Seeing the study’s methodology (or lack thereof) makes this projection seem even sillier than Marc and I had suggested. The Conference Board “scored” eleven industries in seven regions on the following arbitrary […]

The skinny on METRs

The push for “competitiveness” is often framed around differences in corporate taxation. Our tax rates, it is argued, must be equivalent to or less than those of our competitors so that we can attract the investment we need to increase our standard of living. There is some truth to that in that if our taxes […]

Relative Productivity Levels in OECD

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested that someone ought to publish a comparative ranking of OECD countries by productivity per HOUR of work (rather than the more common, but utterly misleading, measure of GDP per capita). Turns out the Economic Policy Institute in Washington has done exactly that in their latest version of their […]

We’re Number Sixteen!

For as long as I can remember, the Canadian government has been obsessed with “competitiveness.” It is part of the lexicon of government-speak, despite the fact that unlike productivity there is no established measure of “competitiveness”. So the term is more of a values statement than anything else. To address this shortcoming, the World Economic […]