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The Progressive Economics Forum

Student Essay Contest


Deadline 04 May 2015

All entrants receive a complimentary 1-year membership in the Progressive Economics Forum.

➢ Open to all Canadian students, studying in Canada and abroad, as well as international students presently studying in Canada.
➢ The definition of “student” encompasses full time as well as part time students
➢ Students eligible for the 2015 competition must have been/be enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution at some point during the period of May 2014 – May 2015

There are two levels of competition
➢ One for undergraduates
➢ One for graduates*
*Note: Those who have previously completed an undergraduate degree or graduate degree, and are returning to do a second undergraduate degree will only be considered for the graduate student competition. The same holds for student who spend part of the academic in a graduate program.

➢ Entries may be on any subject related to political economy, economic theory or an economic policy issue, which best reflects a critical approach to the functioning, efficiency, social and environmental consequences of unconstrained markets.

Eligible entries will be…
➢ …sent by email at the latest on May 04, 2015, to:
➢ …the only submission by the author(s) (i.e., one submission per person)
➢ …between 20-40 pages in length, and typed in 12-point font, double spaced
➢ …referenced to academic standards (including any data)
➢ …written in either English or French
➢ …original, single-authored essays that do not infringe upon the rights of any third parties
➢ …accepted on re-submission once
➢ …accompanied by a signed scanned file of the completed PEF Essay Contest Submission Form.

Entrants consent to having the Progressive Economic Forum publish essays from winners and those receiving honourable mention. Each applicant will submit a valid email and postal address for correspondence.

➢ A panel of judges selected and approved by the Progressive Economic Forum will judge entries.
➢ Entries will be judged according to the following criteria: substance and originality, writing style, composition, and organization.
➢ The Progressive Economic Forum reserves the right not to award a prize or any prizes where submissions do not meet contest standards or criteria.

➢ The winning essays will be announced at the Annual General Meeting of the PEF.
➢ A cash prize of $1,000 will be awarded the winner of the graduate competition; and $500 will be awarded to the winner of the undergraduate competition.
➢ The winning essays will be published on the PEF website.
➢ Judges’ decisions are final.

Please help us get the word out! Download a poster here. Contest submission form here.

2014 Essay Contest Results

The undergraduate prize goes to Alex Wind (UBC). “The National Child Benefit: An Examination of the First Fifteen Years of Canada’s Refundable Tax Credit for Low-Income Families with Children” evaluates the National Child Benefit, identifies some of its recent failings, and suggests a specific policy augmentation to remedy these, on the basis of a analysis of statistical data.

The Panel decided to award an ‘Honorable Mention’ to Andrew Lovsin (Laurentian U). His essay, “Was the Keynesian Revolution Truly Keynesian?” evaluates that very question in light of the historical record of how Keynesian ideas were synthesized, and concludes that, despite a significant impact on the profession and the world, Keynes and his closest followers failed to establish a revolution.

The graduate prize goes to Matt Wilder (University of Toronto), for his essay “Internationalization and Variable Confluence in State-Assisted Economic Sectors: Lessons from Canada’s Experience Under Free Trade”. This paper examines the disjointed patterns of government retrenchment from different sectors of the Canadian economy as a result of international free trade agreements. The essay covers a wide range of literature and debates, and uses a mix of qualitative and some very sophisticated quantitative evidence to make the inferences about government involvement in the economy in light of various globalization pressures. Wilder finds that while governments abandoned many industrial policy practices following the implementation of free trade agreements, they gradually came to re-engage and navigate an interventionist policy stance in other ways.

The panel decided to give Duncan Farthing-Nichol’s (Harvard Law School) essay an Honorable Mention. “Measure Twice, Cut Once: Assessing Labour Availability in Post-Recession Alberta” is an analysis of labour shortages in Alberta which critiques the reliability of business-owner (e.g. CFIB) derived data and makes use of CANSIM data to identify real labour shortages and the prescribes policy remedies.

The 2014 essay contest was coordinated by Mathieu Dufour, and judges included Scott Aquanno, Jordan Brennan, and Kevin Young.



Graduate Winner of $1,000: Jamie Moeller, Carleton University, “Alternative Options for a Broken Dental Care System in Canada

Graduate Honourable Mentions:

Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Carleton University, “Theorizing the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

John Vogan, York University, “Cold Rush: Arctic Offshore Oil Development in Canada

Undergraduate Winner of $500: Collyn Lovelace, Yukon College (University of Regina distance education), “Obstacle to a Safe Exit: Domestic Violence & The Whitehorse Housing Crisis

Undergraduate Honourable Mention: Tim Yu, University of Alberta, “The Significance of the U.S.-Mexican Remittance Corridor: Bilateral Challenges and Opportunities in Mexico and the United States”

Winners were chosen by the following panel: 
- Mike Bradfield, Economics Professor, Dalhousie University
- Mathieu Dufour, Economics Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
- Christine Saulnier, Executive Director, Nova Scotia Office, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives


Graduate Winner of $1,000: Jordan Brennan, York University, “Differential Accumulation, Redistribution, and the Rebounding Fortunes of the Canadian Establishment

Graduate Honourable Mentions:

Matt Pelling, Simon Fraser University, “Failures in Forecasting: An Analysis of Assessment and Expectations 27 Years After the MacDonald Commission Report

Geoff Schneider, University of Manitoba, “Sustainable Policy Options for a Canadian Universal Pharmacare Program

Undergraduate Winner of $500: Vanessa Knight, York University, “A Fair Return on Non-Renewable Resources: Mandating Reforms for Equitable Distribution

Undergraduate Honourable Mention: Teresa Looy, The King’s University College (Edmonton), “Economic solutions to urban sprawl through internalizing externalities

Winners were chosen by the following panel:
- Dr. Brian MacLean, Acting Chair and Full Professor, Department of Economics, Laurentian University
– Linda McQuaig,
Toronto Star columnist
– Dr. Kevin Young, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, Princeton University


Graduate Winner of $1,000: Jordan Brennan, York University, “Has Free Trade Fulfilled its Promise in Canada? Contesting a “Sacred Tenet” of Globalization Theory

Graduate Honourable Mention: Rosita Yi Ki Kwan, Dalhousie University, “Alberta Welfare Reform and Employment Outcomes of Welfare Recipients

Undergraduate Winner of $500: Yilang (Kent) Feng, University of Manitoba, “The Subtle Transformation of Contemporary China – A Study of Chinese Political Economy in the Post-Crisis World

Undergraduate Honourable Mentions:

Gregory W. Johnsen, Carleton University, “Balancing act: Negotiating global needs and national sovereignty under the Bretton Woods regime

Laura Husak, University of Manitoba, “The Food Crisis in Context: More than a Problem of Speculation

Winners were chosen by a panel from the University of Manitoba: Ian Hudson, Fletcher Barager and Robert Chernomas.


Graduate Winner of $1,000: Richard Pereira, Athabasca University, “Economic security in the twenty-first century – Guaranteed Annual Income: An ecological, democratic, justice and food security imperative” (French version here)

Graduate Honourable Mentions:

Richard Togman, Carleton University, “The Russian financial crisis of 1998: How uncontrolled markets and a weak government led to the collapse of a nation

Thomas Mastoras, Osgoode Hall Law School, “Comity in international political economy: The benefits of trade legalization”

Undergraduate Winner of $500: Rob Konkel, University of Saskatchewan, “Poverty and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa: Alternative formulations and integrated intervention strategies

Undergraduate Honourable Mentions:

Jan Sporina, University of Calgary. “Economic prosperity in developing countries: A necessary or a sufficient condition for democratization

Benjamin Sawatzky, University of Manitoba, “Stable growth: An examination of the oft-overlooked link between political stability and growth, with special attention to the Kenyan experience

Winners were chosen by Marc Lavoie and Mario Seccareccia from the University of Ottawa.


Graduate Winner of $1,000: Ryan Katz-Rosene, Carleton University, “Tar Sands or Tarred Sense: The Political Economy of Environmentalist Thought”

Graduate Honourable Mention: Salimah Valiani, Carleton University, “Temporary Migration and the Global Integration of Nursing Labour Markets–the US American Instance”

Undergraduate Winner of $500: Derek Carnegie, University of Toronto, “SARB Monetary Policy and South African Financialization”

Undergraduate Honourable Mention: Kellina Higgins, Quest University, “An Economic Proposal to Decrease Agriculture’s Impact on the Environment”


Graduate Winner of $1,000: “Healing a Crisis of Overaccumulation: How Canada’s Public Health Care System is Being Undermined through Accumulation by Disposession” by Heather Whiteside (Simon Fraser University)

Graduate Honourable Mention: “Swedish Child Care and Parental Support Programs – A Defense” by Adrian Scotchmer (written while at Queen’s in the MPA program; now at Osgoode Hall, York University in the LLB)

Undergraduate Winners of $250 each:

“In Pursuit of Sustenance: The Search for Food Security in the 21st Century” by James Barclay Frey (University of Manitoba)

“Ensuring Equality: Guaranteed Annual Income and Democratic Legitimacy” by Evan Rosevear (York University)


Graduate Winner of $1,000: XinYing Hu, Simon Fraser University, “The Rise of Precarious Work for Women in Countries as Different as China and Canada”

Undergraduate Winner of $500: Nick Falvo, York University, “Alternative Approaches to Addressing the Lack of Affordable Housing in Canada”

Undergraduate Honourable Mention: Peter Steele-Mosey, University of Guelph, “Arresting the downward trend in the earnings of new immigrants to Canada. An analysis of the problem, and a prescription for policy”


Undergraduate Winner of $500:

“Should the Central Bank be Independent?” by Zacharie Liman-Tinguiri, University of Ottawa

Graduate Winner of $1000:

“Globalization, Corporatization and the Organic Philosophy: Social Sustainability in Question” by Lisa F. Clark, Simon Fraser University

Graduate Honourable Mentions:

“Getting to the Source of Water Scarcity in Alberta” by Jeremy Schmidt, McGill University

“The General Agreement on Trade in Services and Canadian Federalism: A Threat to Public Education?” by Jennifer Keefe, Simon Fraser University

Winners were chosen by a three-person panel: Marc Lee (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-BC); Jim Stanford (Canadian Auto Workers Union); and Fletcher Baragar (University of Manitoba)


Undergraduate Winners of $250 each:

“A Case for Government Owned and Operated Film Theatres in Canada” by Amy Graham, Brock University

“Neoliberalism and the Political Economy of War” by Bruce Guenther, University of Winnipeg

Graduate Winners of $500 each:

“The New Consensus in Monetary Policy: What Role for Post-Keynesian Theory?” by Marcel Turcot, Carleton University

“Lies, Damned Lies, and Trade Statistics: The Import Content of Canadian Exports” by Erin Weir, Queen’s University

Winners were chosen by a three-person panel: Rhonda Kimberley-Young (President of the Ontario Secondary Teachers’ Federation); Arthur Donner (President of Arthur Donner Consultants); and Hugh Mackenzie


Undergraduate Winner of $500: “The deregulation of the telecommunications industry” by Erin Wilson, Concordia University

Graduate Winner of $1000: “Pressure from without, subversion from within: the two-pronged German offensive” by Daniel Kinderman, Cornell University

Winners were chosen by a three-person panel: Ronald J. Bodkin (distinguished retired Professor, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa); Bruce Campbell (Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives); Morris Miller (Adjunct Professor, School of Management, University of Ottawa; and former Executive Director, World Bank)


Undergraduate Winner of $500: “An Economic Story: Analysis of Howard J. Sherman’s Nutcracker Theory of Profit Squeeze and Its Ties to Post- Keynesian Economics” by Brandon Schaufele, University of Ottawa

Graduate Winner of $1000: “What Happened to Home Economics?: An Essay on Households, the Economy and the Environment” by Catherine Leviten-Reid, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Winners were chosen by a three-person panel: Cy Gonick, (Editor, Canadian Dimension); Anna Rothney (Economist, Community Economic Development, Manitoba); Todd Scarth (Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Manitoba)


Undergraduate Winner of $500: “Economics, Ideology, and Elections: The Political Economy of Saskatchewan Oil Royalties in the 1980s and 1990s” by Erin Weir, University of Regina [Diagrams that accompany the paper are available as a separate PDF file here]

Winner was chosen by a three-person panel: Marjorie Cohen (Professor of Political Science, Simon Fraser University); Michael Liebowitz (Economics Professor, Simon Fraser University); Gideon Rosenbluth (Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of British Columbia, and past president of the Canadian Economics Association).


Undergraduate Winner of $500:
“The Free Market Fails Children: A Discussion of Market Failure and Possible Correctives for the Canadian Child Care System” by Daniel Rosen, McGill University

Undergraduate Honorable Mention:
“NEP to FTA: The Political Economy of Canadian Petroleum Policy in the 1980s” by Erin Weir, University of Regina

Graduate Winners of $500 each:

“The Janus-faced Nature of Working-time Reduction: Between Rationalization Whip and Instrument for Social Justice”
by Daniel Kinderman, York University

“Living in the Age of Exclusion: The Impact of Corporate Globalization on Rural Communities” by Jennifer Sumner, University of Guelph

Winners were chosen by a three-person panel: David Foot (author of the best-selling Boom, Bust and Echo and Professor of Economics, University of Toronto); Thomas Walkom (economist and columnist with the Toronto Star); Barbara Cameron (professor of women’s studies at York University).


“It Happened but not Again: A Minskian Analysis of Japan’s Lost Decade” by Marc-Andre Pigeon, New School University

Honourable mentions:

“Building a New Strategy for the Left Around Capital Controls” by Richard Lennon, York University

“Driving International Environmental Co-operation: The Role of Incentives in the Creation of the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols by Michael Lisowski, University of Toronto

“Challenging the Corporate Law Tradition: A Socialist Feminist Critique” by Veronica Wylie, Osgoode Hall Law School

Winners were chosen by Mel Watkins (Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Toronto); Linda McQuaig (author and columnist); Sam Gindin (former Research Director of the Canadian Auto Workers)

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