Congestion pricing

Another aspect of the Swedish elections: voters in Stockhold back an already-introduced measure that changes a fee to motorists entering the city. Shades of London, where congestion pricing has been in effect for a few years now. In our traffic-clogged cities, it is an interesting question about if and how such congestion pricing might come into effect. The right has […]

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CD Howe Institute and Business Taxes

The Howe released today yet another study on marginal effective tax rates on business (METRs) by Jack Mintz today, this time calculating METRs for many countries. http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/ebrief_34.pdf The CD Howe’s METR findings and methodology seem to be taken at face-value almost universally these days eg cited by the Department of Finance and the latest OECD Economic Review of Canada. Yet […]

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Bob Evans declares “class war”

UBC’s Bob Evans, a national treasure, reviews the data on income inequality as context for the attack on public health insurance in this recent article in Healthcare Policy. The abstract: From World War to Class War: The Rebound of the Rich Incomes in Canada, as in many other countries, are becoming increasingly unequal. In North America this process has several […]

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The US Inequality Debate

Brad DeLong makes the definitive summary of the positions and evidence being put forward about inequality in the US of A. This is the blog-o-sphere at its best: real-time expert debate, in this case among top American economists – and in full public view, contributions welcomed, rather than in a classroom at an academic conference, much less a dated collection […]

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Canadian R&D spending is weak

Today’s Daily from Statscan points to a new short review of Canadian R&D spending, 2002 to 2006. They report: Spending on industrial research and development (R&D) will edge up this year, according to reported intentions. Canadian companies will spend an estimated $14.9 billion on R&D, up 1.3% from the preliminary figure for 2005. Manufacturers will spend an estimated $8.3 billion, […]

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Defending Sweden

The Globe and Mail’s Neil Reynolds does a hatchet job on Sweden. Alas, conservatives have called for the end of the Swedish welfare state for a long time, and this smear job may postpone the day that Canadians start looking at Sweden as a model we may want to emulate. Truth be told, I have never been to Sweden (though […]

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Fear of Sharing

All of this equalization talk has Preston Manning worried. While Alberta Premier Ralph Klein would have just told the rest of us to keep our grubby hands off Alberta’s wealth, Manning and his co-author Fred Kerr take 1200 words to explain to us that Alberta is already sharing as much as it can. Let’s take a walk though their oped […]

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Adam Smith the anti-poverty activist

Princeton economist Alan Kreuger provides another take on the “Adam Smith did not wear the Adam Smith necktie” theme, from a 2001 New York Times column, that reviews “Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet and the Enlightenment” (Harvard University Press) by Emma Rothschild, director of the Center for History and Economics at King’s College, Cambridge: Emma Rothschild … argues that Smith […]

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Luck, ability and income tax policy

A old NY Times column by economist Hal Varian, recussitated by Brad DeLong: … Those who argue for a more progressive income tax emphasize equity: a tax dollar paid by a rich person causes less pain than a tax dollar paid by a poor person. Those who argue for a less progressive system emphasize efficiency: the most productive people should […]

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Demographic apocolypse 2020?

Pierre Fortin, who I usually find to be an interesting economic commentator on public policy issues, makes the case for demographic apocolypse. i used to share that fear, but I’ve done some number crunching on this issue in the BC context (i.e. more seniors than the national average) and am not convinced that the problem is as large as Fortin […]

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Alberta’s resource royalties

Just on the heels of posting a $9 billion surplus for the last fiscal year, largely on the strength of resource royalties, comes this fascinating article in The Globe, which echoes comments about low royalty rates that the Edmonton-based Parkland Institute has been making for years: Alberta eyes greater share of oil wealth Considers changes to royalty system Alberta is […]

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It’s Tax Freedom Day

Call me a curmudgeon, but I am not celebrating the Fraser Institute's Tax Freedom Day. This notion does not deserve any media attention, but the fact that it does suggests it is a clever and successful gimmick. That is about the nicest thing that can be said about TFD. It grossly exaggerates the amount of taxes people pay in a […]

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