Welcome to the Centre for the Study of Living Standards
Contact Information 170 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5V5
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards is a non-profit, national, independent organization that seeks to contribute to a better understanding of trends in and determinants of productivity, living standards and economic well-being through research.
Announcements & Recent Releases
On August 18, 2021, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report “Should Economics Play a Greater Role in the Adjudication of Human Rights Claims?” by CSLS Research Associates David Lewis and Ian Currie. The authors make the case that economics should indeed play a greater role in human rights claims. They argue that economic analysis can counter what some legal scholars have found to be “inconsistency, incoherence and unfairness” in the adjudication of human rights claims by providing an objective and independent evidentiary baseline for monetary awards. They also find that the application of Cost-Benefit Analysis, together with government assistance in some cases, could help ensure against the loss of societal benefits arising from successful claims of undue hardship. The report is posted here. The press release is posted here.
On June 29, 2021, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) in collaboration with The Productivity Institute (TPI) in the UK released the Spring 2021 issue of its flagship publication, the International Productivity Monitor. The 40th issue features seven articles that discuss pay and productivity trends in Canada; the benchmarking of the productivity performance of frontier firms in New Zealand; the cause of Japan’s economic slowdown; and the measurement of the volume of output and productivity in services industries in OECD countries. The issue also contains a viewpoint on why Canada needs an Equitable Growth Institute and review articles on books on efficiency and productivity issues in the UK and techniques for the measurement of productivity. The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the editor's overview and the press release.
On May 28, 2021 CSLS Executive Director Andrew Sharpe made a presentation to the Prosperity Action Committee of the Senate of Canada entitled "An Agenda for Equitable Growth in Canada." A paper upon which the presentation was based is found here.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has organized two panels at the Canadian Economic Associations's virtual conference.
- The first, on "Improving Economic Policy Advising in Canada" took place Thursday, June 3, 2021 from 1-2:30 pm
- The second, in partnership with the Atlantic Institute for Policy Research (AIPR), discussed the topic of "The Economic Performance and Outlook for Atlantic Provinces: Provincial Perspectives". The panel session took place on Friday, June 4, 2021 at 2pm Atlantic Time (1pm Eastern Time).
On April 26, 2021, the Board of Directors of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards announced the appointment of two new Board members, David Green, Professor of Economics at the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia and Donna Feir, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Victoria. Dr. Green chaired the British Columbia Expert Panel on Basic Income which recently issued the report Covering All the Basics: Reform for a More Just Society. Dr. Feir's work focuses on Indigenous issues, including Indigenous access to capital, reconciliation, modern Indigenous labour market experiences, and the impact of historical policies on Indigenous economies.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) is working on an agreement with The Productivity Institute (TPI) in the United Kingdom on a partnership for the production of the International Productivity Monitor (IPM). Effective with the Spring 2021 issue the IPM would become the flagship publication of both organizations. TPI Managing Director Bart van Ark would join Andrew Sharpe as one of the two editors of the publication. The CSLS will continue to be responsible for the production of the journal. This agreement is advantageous to both organizations, given their common objective to foster a better understanding of productivity issues. This partnership would increase the reach of the IPM and make it an increasing important outlet for international productivity research around the world.
On April 19, 2021, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards and The Productivity Institute released a call for papers for a symposium or theme issue on the topic "Productivity and Well-being: Measurement and Linkages" to be published in the Spring 2022 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. The call for papers is posted here. The deadline for the call for papers in July 15, and a decision will be made by July 20.
On April 1, 2021, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report "The World Bank Doing Business Index for Canada: An Assessment". This research report, prepared for Global Affairs Canada, conducts a thorough investigation into Canada's performance on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index (DBI). Since 2007, Canada's ranking has fallen from 4th to 23rd. This fall in ranking can be largely explained by Canada's performance on four pillars of the DBI: trading across borders, dealing with construction permits, enforcing contracts and getting electricity. The report also discusses criticisms of the DBI, which is particularly relevant given the temporary suspension of the DBI, announced August, 2020, in response to data irregularities found in the 2018 and 2020 Doing Business Reports. The key findings of the report are highlighted in the press release.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) is seeking an economist. The position may be staffed on a contract or indeterminant basis. The level of the position and compensation are open.The position involves conducting analysis and applied research on topics related to productivity, living standards, and economic well-being in Canada and other countries and developing policy recommendations to improve performance in these areas. Interested parties are asked to email a covering letter and CV to CSLS Executive Director Andrew Sharpe at email@example.com by January 31, 2021 . All applications will be acknowledged. More information is available in the job posting.
On December 16, 2020, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the Fall 2020 issue of its flagship publication, the International Productivity Monitor. The 39th issue features six articles that discuss the impact of the pandemic on productivity growth in Canada; short-run changes in output, hours worked, and output per hour in 87 Canadian industries; an overview of the newly-established UK Productivity Institute; a review of economic growth and productivity knowledge; and the impact of digitalization on the economy. The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the editor's overview and the press release.
On September 14, 2020, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report "Innovation in New Brunswick". This report, prepared for the Atlantic Institute for Policy Research at the University of New Brunswick, examines the linkages between innovation and productivity in New Brunswick by analyzing the levels and trends of indicators of innovation.
On September 11, 2020, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) was awarded the 2020 International Society for Quality of Life Standards Award for the Betterment of the Human Condition. Learn more about this prestigious award here. More information on our acheivements in the Index of Economic Well-being is available here.
On August 24, 2020, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report "What Explains the Rising Profit Share in Canada?". This report, prepared for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), contributes to the discussion on the rising capital share by studying the evolution of the Canadian corporate profit share in the past three decades using both financial and national accounts data.
On June 24, 2020 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report "The Improved Labour Market Performance of New Immigrants to Canada, 2006-2019". This report uses estimates of labour market outcomes from the Canadian Labour Force Survey (LFS) to compare trends in outcomes among very recent immigrants (5 years or less since immigration), recent immigrants (5-10 years since immigration), and Canadian-born workers. Further information on the report can be found in the attached press release.
On June 16, 2020, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the Spring 2020 issue of its flagship publication, the International Productivity Monitor. The 38th issue features seven articles that discuss the impact of trust on productivity; the relationship between zombie firms, exit barriers and productivity; a three-article symposium on the sources of the Transatlantic productivity slowdown; the World Bank perspective on productivity; and productivity measurement in higher education. The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the editor's overview and the press release.
The report was mentioned in a Financial Post article here.
On June 9, 2020 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the study "The Price Effect of Trade: Evidence of the China Shock and Canadian Consumer Prices". The study finds that the overall CPI index was 1.2 percentage points lower in 2011 relative to a scenario where the share of imports from China in total Canadian imports did not increase and remained the same as in 2001. Further details on the study are in the attached press release. The study was commissioned by Global Affairs Canada.
On December 20, 2019, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the Fall 2019 issue of its flagship publication, the International Productivity Monitor. The issue features seven articles on a range of productivity-related topics: a comparison of the productivity growth slowdown between Europe and the United States; firm-level evidence on the impact of digitalization on productivity; the impact of the China shock on innovation and productivity in Canadian manufacturing; productivity dispersion at the firm level in Canada; the role of R&D in productivity improvement; consistency issues on the construction of productivity indices; and the state of productivity research. The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the editor's overview.
On October 2, 2019 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report "A Prosperity Index for British Columbia: Technical Background". The purpose of this report is to present the estimates of the Prosperity Index for British Columbia with comparisons with three types of other jurisdictions (i.e. peer countries, Canadian provinces and Pacific U.S. states).
On September 5, 2019 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report "A Detailed Analysis of Newfoundland and Labrador's Productivity Performance, 1997-2018". This report describes and explains the trends in productivity in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as trends in the variables used in the calculation of productivity, including output, labour input, and capital input. The main finding of the report is that the oil and gas sector has been responsible for most of Newfoundland and Labrador's economic growth, and now accounts for the largest share of the province’s business sector value added.
On September 3, 2019 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS), the Social Assistance Research Program and the Assembly of First Nation (AFN) organized the Expert Forum on First Nations Social Assistance Reform at the office of the Assembly of First Nations. The purpose of the forum was to discuss innovations and best practices for the delivery of social assistance to First Nations. A summary of the findings from the Expert Forum is available here. The materials presented at the Expert Forum can be found here.
On August 14, 2019 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report "An Infrastructure Index for Remote Indigenous Communities". This report develops a composite index to measure the gap in infrastructure between remote Indigenous communities in Northern Canada and the rest of the country. The main finding of the report is that remote Indigenous communities in Canada’s North score lower on the index than both Southern cities and remote northern non-Indigenous communities.
On August 7, 2019 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report "R&D Spillovers in Canadian Industry: Results from a New Micro Database". The report confirms the existence of substantial spillover benefits from R&D performed in Canada, so government support for R&D is justified. However, the current policy of subsidizing R&D performed by small firms at a higher rate than R&D performed by larger firms is not supported by the evidence. The report also finds a much lower private rate of return on R&D performed by small firms than by large firms.
On July 11, 2019 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report "Household Incomes in Canada and the United States: Who is Better Off?". The report uses 2016 microdata from Canada and the United States to study differences in household incomes between the two countries. It shows that 56 per cent of Canadian households are better off than their American counterparts at the same point of the income distribution. This finding is driven by the lower income inequality in Canada, and illustrates how the usual comparison of incomes between Canada and the United States using GDP per capita or average household income hides a critical part of the story behind the Canada-US income differential.
On July 3, 2019, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the Spring 2019 issue of its flagship publication, the International Productivity Monitor. The issue, guest edited by Dale Jorgenson from Harvard University, features nine papers from the Fifth World KLEMS Conference held at the Kennedy School at Harvard University in June 2018. Dale Jorgenson has also written an introduction to the issue. These articles represent the most recent international research on productivity issues from a growth accounting perspective.The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the editor's overview. A press release is available for this issue.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has organized four sessions for this year's Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference at Banff, Alberta from May 31 to June 2. The titles of the CSLS sessions are:
CSLS "Indigenous Economic Development"
CSLS "The Impact of China on the Canadian Economy"
CSLS-Statistics Canada "Firm-level Perspective on Canada's Productivity Performance"
CSLS-PEF "Economic Well-being in Canada: Past Trends and Future Challenges"
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 53rd Annual Conference can be found on the CEA website.
On January 9, 2019, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the Fall 2018 issue of its flagship publication, the International Productivity Monitor. This issue contains eight articles featuring two individual articles and two symposia on a range of productivity-related topics. The topics of the two articles are employment and productivity in U.S. manufacturing and the role of demand and digitization in solving the productivity puzzle. The topic of the first symposium of four articles is explaining slower productivity growth since 2000 in Canada. The topic of the second symposium of two articles is the global productivity slowdown. The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the editor's overview. A press release is available for this issue.
On October 9, 2018
the Bertelsmann Foundation released the report
“Policy Performance and Governance Capacity in the OECD and EU: Sustainable Governance Indicators 2018,” a comprehensive assessment of governance indicators for OECD and EU countries. The Centre for the Study of Living Standards is a Canadian partner in the project and contributes to the report on Canada. The key finding of the report is that the quality of democracy in the OECD and EU has declined in recent years. At the same time, growing political polarization has made the day-to-day work of governance and thus member states’ capacity to reform more difficult. All country reports and data can be found at SGI website.
On August 21, 2018
the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the report
“Long-term Fiscal and Economic Projections for Canada and the Provinces and Territories, 2017-2038: An Update.”
This report updates economic projections for Canada and the provinces from a CSLS 2015 study (Drummond and Capeluck, 2015)
with new data from 2015, 2016 and 2017. The CSLS projections are based on a supply-side methodology where potential real
output growth is determined by trend labour productivity growth and potential labour supply growth, expressed in terms
of total hours. The CSLS currently projects real output growth of 1.6 per cent per year for Canada for the 2017-2038 period,
based on labour productivity growth of 1.0 per cent and labour input growth of 0.6 per cent. For Ontario, the CSLS projects
real output growth of 1.5 per cent based on 0.9 per cent labour productivity growth and 0.6 per cent for labour input growth.
In both cases, the CSLS projections are less rosy than other forecasters due to more pessimistic outlook for labour productivity growth.
After robust growth in ICT investment in Canada and the United States during the 1980s and 1990s,
growth in ICT investment started to slow after 2000 and its share in GDP entered a downward trajectory.
To explain this trend, we focus on two facets of the changing ICT spending pattern driven by the rise
in cloud computing starting in the mid-2000s. Instead of investing in ICT capital goods, organizations
now purchase cloud services from cloud service providers that appear to be more efficient in producing
computing services. Second, cloud service providers undertake substantial own-account investment in
ICT equipment which is not counted in official statistics. We find that spending on cloud services
in both Canada and the United States rose substantially from the mid-2000s. Also, adding own-account
ICT equipment investment by cloud service providers results in additional 1.7 percentage-points
in annual growth for nominal ICT investment in Canada and additional 1.1 percentage-points in the United States.
It is well known that there has been a secular decline in the manufacturing
share of total employment in Canada, with the decline accelerating after 2000.
Among the factors that contributed to that trend, this report focuses on rising
Chinese import competition in Canada, which also accelerated after 2000.
We find that the trade-induced job loss in manufacturing amounts to 113.5 thousand
during the 2001-2011 period but the loss was not equally distributed across skill groups.
We estimate that the loss was largely driven by: low-skilled occupations (89.8 thousand) when analyzed by skill level;
and occupations in services (57.6 thousand), technical/paraprofessional (12.1 thousand), and production (51.8 thousand)
when analyzed by skill type. A trade-induced job loss in manufacturing is also estimated by gender.
We find that females had a larger loss than males did in relative terms in all skill groups.
Lastly, the labour reallocation in response to a trade shock is found to be important in offsetting
the negative employment effect, but the degree of reallocation varies across skill groups and genders.
On August 10, 2018, the CSLS released a report entitled “Indigenous Recruitment, Retention, and Community Outreach in the Canadian Natural Resource Sector.” This report contributes to the literature on best practices for corporate engagement with Indigenous stakeholders, with an emphasis on hiring practices, workplace culture, and community engagement in the Canadian natural resource industry. The report summarizes relevant research and highlights key examples to demonstrate that respectful consultation and relationship-building can lead to mutually-beneficial outcomes for resource companies and Indigenous communities.
On June 28, 2018, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released the Spring 2018 issue of its flagship publication, the International Productivity Monitor. The issue features seven articles on a range of productivity-related topics: the potential gains from more competitive regulatory settings for real per capita GDP growth in Canada; the role of capital measurement issues in accounting for slower productivity growth in Canada; the achievement of productivity lift-off in New Zealand; the productivity implication of a country’s position within Global Value Chains; explanations for the U.S. productivity slowdown; cyclical versus trend slowdowns in productivity growth; and the rise of the intangible economy. The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the editor's overview. A press release is available for this issue.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has organized seven sessions for this year's Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference at McGill University in Montréal, Québec from June 1 to June 3, 2018. The titles of the CSLS sessions are:
CSLS-CD Howe Institute Joint Session on Indigenous Issues
CSLS-Productivity Partnership Session Explaining Canada’s Post-2000 Productivity Performance II: The Role of Technology
CSLS-Banque de France The Impact of Digital Technology, Credit Constraints, and Financial Frictions on Productivity
CSLS-Productivity Partnership Panel Explaining Canada’s Post-2000 Productivity Performance III: Can the Productivity Slowdown be Reversed and If So, How?
CSLS-PEF-Productivity Partnership “Boosting Employment and Productivity by Addressing the Labour Market Challenges of Individuals with Disabilities”
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 52nd Annual Conference can be found on the CEA website.
On December 19, 2017, the CSLS released a report entitled “The Contribution of Métis to Future Labour Force Growth in Canada” by Andrew Sharpe and Myeongwan Kim. The report, like previous work of the CSLS on Aboriginal people and labour force growth, advances the debate on the role of Aboriginal people for Canadian long-term economic growth by projecting the contribution of Métis people to future labour force growth in Canada as a whole and by region under various projection scenarios. In their baseline scenario over the 2011-2036 period, the Métis people is projected to account for 6.4 per cent of total labour force growth.
On November 14, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released a special issue of its flagship publication, the International Productivity Monitor, guest edited by Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University and founder of the World KLEMS Initiative. The issue is based on selected papers from the Fourth World KLEMS Conference held in Madrid in May 2016. The issue contains nine articles featuring the most recent research on productivity trends throughout the world. Topics addressed include: a comparison of productivity growth in China and India, the implications of the move to ICT services for the impact of ICT technologies on productivity, new estimates of human capital for the United States, productivity developments in Latin America, and sectoral developments in productivity performance in EU countries. The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the introduction by Dale Jorgenson.
On November 7, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, in collaboration with the Productivity Partnerships, issued a call for papers for the conference “Explaining Canada’s Post-2000 Productivity Performance” to be held in association with the annual meeting of the Canadian Economics Association, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec June 1-3, 2018. Details on the motivation for the conference, the issues on which papers are sought, and the submission procedures are found in the call for papers. The deadline for proposals is February 2, 2018.
On October 2, 2017 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released a report entitled "The Contribution of Aboriginal People to Future Labour Force Growth in Canada" by Don Drummond, Alexander Murray, Nicolas Mask and Andrew Sharpe. The report contributes to the debate on closing socio-economic gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by projecting the contribution of Aboriginal people to future labour force growth in Canada as a whole and by region under various scenarios over the 2011-2036 period. It finds that up to one fifth of future labour force growth in this country may come from the Aboriginal population.
A press release and an op-ed by Don Drummond and Andrew Sharpe are available for this report.
Articles from the Globe and Mail and the Winnipeg Free Press are also available for this report.
On August 31, 2017, the CSLS released a report entitled "The Human Development Index in Canada: Ranking the Provinces and Territories Internationally, 2000-2015: An Update." This report provides internationally comparable estimates of the Human Development Index (HDI) for the Canadian provinces and territories from 2000 to 2015. The report explores a wide variation in the quality of life enjoyed by Canadians. It shows that while residents of Alberta and Ontario enjoy a quality of life similar to that of Singapore or Denmark, residents of Nunavut face a quality of life similar to that of Latvia or Argentina. A press release is available for this report.
On August 30, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “What Explains the Post-2004 U.S. Productivity Slowdown.” The average annual rate of U.S. business sector labour productivity growth declined by 1.9 percentage points between the 1995-2004 period and the 2004-2015 period, from 3.2 per cent to 1.3 per cent. This report summarizes the state of knowledge on the causes of this development. Two thirds of the slowdown is accounted for by a decline in total factor productivity growth, while one third by a decline in the rate of capital deepening (i.e. growth of capital per hour worked). Three industries, collectively representing 28 per cent of business-sector hours worked in 2015, account for over 80 per cent of the aggregate labour productivity decline: manufacturing, wholesale trade, and retail trade.
On July 18, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “The Inclusion of Natural Resource Wealth in
the Index of Economic Well-Being: Results for OECD Countries, 1980-2013” The objective of the report is to present augmented estimates of the Index of Economic Well-being (IEWB) for 14 OECD countries for the 1980-2013 period. The new estimates account for the inclusion of an
internationally comparable measure of natural resource wealth which had been absent from
previous IEWB reports. It finds that in 2013 Norway had the highest level of economic wellbeing
and Spain the lowest. Despite being a resource rich country, Canada ranked eleventh among the fourteen countries for economic well-being.
On July 13, 2017 the CSLS released a study done for Global Affairs Canada entitled “The Effect of Import Competition on Employment in Canada: Evidence from the China Shock.” The federal government has called for a “progressive trade agenda” for Canada, an agenda which responses to the concerns of those harmed by the liberalization of international trade and ensures that trade contributes to broad-based prosperity for all Canadians. The objective of the report is to contribute to the development of such an agenda by measuring the impact on Canadian employment of a recent shock to Canada’s import supply. The report finds that the direct effect of rising Chinese import competition on Canadian manufacturing was a net loss of 105 thousand jobs over the 2001-2011 period, equivalent to 21 per cent of the actual observed decline in manufacturing employment. A press release is available for this issue.
An article of this report is part of the Trade Policy for Uncertain Times special feature of Policy Options magazine.
This report was mentioned in articles from The Globe and Mail, iPOLITICS and The Epoch Times.
Past CSLS Announcements and Releases