January 2015

Employment income since 2006: who gained and who lost

The Harper government claims to be good economic managers pursuing a successful jobs and growth agenda.

To be sure, there are many factors other than federal government policy that strongly influence Canadian jobs and incomes, such as resource prices, business decisions, the state of the United States and the global economy, and the actions of provincial governments. No federal government can take all or even most of the credit or blame for how our economy is doing.

But it is fair to at least ask the question of whether or not Canadians are better off since the Harper...

Five challenges for bending the health care cost curve in Canada

Canadian economists received a pleasant surprise this year: expenditure growth on public health care in Canada finally appears to be slowing down. However, it is unclear if this slowdown is the result of explicit success in sustainably bending the cost-curve or more short-term cost-cutting in response to slower economic growth or future federal health transfers.

So is it a blip on the health care horizon or the beginning of a trend?

With the continued aging of the Canadian population, the diffusion of new health care technologies, and increased pressure for other public...

Computers, jobs and rising inequality

Economists take a benign view of the impact of technological change on jobs, dismissing the "Luddite" view that technical progress can be a significant cause of unemployment. The core argument is that higher productivity (output per hour worked) drives increases in incomes so that demand rises, creating new jobs as old ones are destroyed.

That said, it has become the conventional wisdom that there are winners and losers from the new information based, digital technologies, and that these have been an important factor behind rising income inequality since the 1980s. “Skill biased...