The Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) on July 6, 2017 released a special issue of its flagship publication,the International Productivity Monitor, done in partnership with the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The issue is based on selected papers from the First OECD Global Forum on Productivity held in Lisbon in July 2016. The issue contains 11 articles featuring the most recent research on a wide range of productivity topics from the OECD and other organizations which undertake productivity research. Topics addressed include the decoupling of wage and productivity growth, the productivity implications of global value chains, productivity insights from firm-level data, public sector productivity issues, the role of urban agglomerations in productivity growth, and development of pro-productivity institutions. The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the Editors' Overview. Particularly relevant from a Canadian perspective are two articles on the decoupling of wage growth from productivity growth in OECD countries. Both articles show that the gap between median wage and labour productivity growth in Canada in recent decades has been significant, and greater than experienced in most other OECD countries. A press release is available for this issue.
On April 19, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “Are Trends in Patenting Reflective of Innovative Activity in Canada?". The objective of the report is to shed light on trends in Canadian innovation as indicated by patenting. Central to these recent trends is an apparent paradox: the number of patents granted to Canadians, an output indicator of innovative activity, has increased substantially between 2000 and 2014 despite decreased business sector expenditures on R&D, a crucial input to innovation, in the same period. The report provides several potential explanations as to why this is the case, the strongest being that the divergence between trends in patenting and R&D expenditures is caused by greater efficiency of research processes and an increase in the filings of patents for strategic reasons. The report also documents recent trends in patenting activity in Canada from several sources and compares trends across different technologies. Patenting trends are also used to give a regional perspective on innovation by tracking the level of innovative activity occurring in provinces and census metropolitan areas. 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 St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia from June 2 to June 4. The titles of the CSLS sessions are:
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 50th Annual Conference can be found on the CEA website.
On April 13, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “The Gap Year: An Overview of the Issues.” The report was prepared at the request of the Youth Secretariat of the Privy Council Office. Taking a gap year between high school and post-secondary education appears to be an increasingly popular option for youth. The report reviews the literature on issues related to a gap year, with a focus on the Canadian context. Overall, taking a gap year appears to be a beneficial choice for many Canadian youth, although the impact of a gap year is often dependent on the youth’s socioeconomic background and the activities they participate during their gap year. Based on these findings in the literature, a number of options for public policy are proposed.
- International Productivity Developments
- Productivity Developments in Canada
- Trends in Well-being in Canada
- Investment in Children: Driver of the Future Living Standards of Canadians (Panel joint with PEF)
On December 21, 2016, the CSLS released the Fall 2016 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. The issue features eight articles on a range of productivity issues: the productivity paradox in the New Digital Economy; the industry origins of Canada's weaker productivity growth; the factors behind the gap between productivity and median wage growth in Canada; a review of Robert J. Gordon's new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, with a response by the author; and a symposium on issues related to total factor productivity growth, including its sources, industry decompositions, and relationship to partial productivity measures, A press release is available for this issue.
On December 21, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “Decomposing Multifactor Productivity Growth in Canada by Industry and Province, 1997-2014" by Matthew Calver and Alexander Murray decompose MFP growth in Canada over the 1997-2014 period by industry and by province. Their results are methodology-dependent. The decomposition technique that includes relative price changes as contributing to aggregate MFP finds that the mining and oil and gas sector, and the provinces where this sector is concentrated, made by far the largest contribution to aggregate MFP growth because of the large increases in output prices over the period. In contrast, the technique that excludes relative price movements finds that manufacturing and Ontario (the province where manufacturing is concentrated) made the largest contribution.
On December 21, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report prepared for the Smart Prosperity Institute entitled “Partial versus Total Factor Productivity (TFP) Measures: An Assessment of their Strengths and Weaknesses” by Alexander Murray and Andrew Sharpe. The report points out that partial productivity measures provide an incomplete picture of the efficiency with which all inputs are being employed. However, TFP suffers from a number of weaknesses, including burdensome data requirements, and complex methodological choices about which there is no expert consensus. This results in a lack of transparency and difficulty for non-experts to understand. The report concludes that productivity analysts should adopt a balanced, context- appropriate approach that incorporates both types of productivity measure.
On December 15, 2016 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the report “Developing an Inclusive Innovation Agenda for Canada" prepared for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. An inclusive innovation system is one which opportunities to participate in innovation are broadly available to all and the dividends of innovation are broadly shared by all. The policy discussion aims to demonstrate how policies for innovation can be analyzed through the lens of economic inclusiveness without sacrificing the goal of promoting innovation and provides indicators to compare Canada's performance against peer countries and to measure progress over time. The report suggests that regulatory reforms, education initiatives and more support for growth-oriented businesses are keys to enhancing inclusive innovation in Canada. A press release is available for this report. A Globe and Mail article is also available.
On December 5, 2016 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the report “New Evidence on the Canada-US ICT Investment Gap, 1976-2014” prepared for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The report finds that ICT investment in Canada has performed poorly since 2008, with nominal ICT investment per job falling from 68.4 per cent of the U.S. level in 2008 to 56.3 per cent in 2014. One half of the gap in ICT investment per job between Canada and the United States in 2014 was accounted for by the information and communication industry. Professional, scientific and technical activities, and manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade accounted for almost all of the remaining gap. A press release is available for this report. The database for this report is available here. A column in the Financial Post is also available.
On November 14, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released two reports on the disconnect between growth in labour productivity and median real hourly earnings in Canada and in 11 OECD countries. Canadian labour is more productive than ever before, but there is a pervasive sense among Canadians that the living standards of the 'middle class' have been stagnating. Indeed, over the 1976-2014 period, labour productivity in Canada grew by 1.1 per cent per year while median real hourly earnings grew by only 0.1 per cent per year. Rising earnings inequality, as proxied by faster growth in average wages than median wages, accounted for one half of the gap, and the declining share of labour in national income accounted for 30 per cent. Among OECD countries covered in the study the United States had by far the largest productivity/median earnings gap at 1.6 percentage points. This failure of the gains from productivity to flow to the middle class likely explains much of the angst expressed by U.S. voters during the course of the recent election. The experience should serve as a warning to governments in other countries. A press release is available for these reports. A Globe and Mail article is also available. An op-ed in the Financial Post is also available.
The Board of Directors of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards is pleased to announce the appointment of Don Drummond as the new chair of the organization, following the passing of Alan Nymark in May 2016. Don is one of Canada’s best known economists. He served as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the TD Bank from 2000 to 2010 and as Associate Deputy Minister of Finance from 2008 to 2010. He is currently the Stauffer-Dunning Fellow in Global Public Policy and Adjunct Professor at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University. In 2011-12, he served as Chair for the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services.
On July 28, 2016, the CSLS released a report entitled The Human Development Index in Canada: Ranking the Provinces and Territories Internationally, 2000-2014 by James Uguccioni. This report provides internationally comparable estimates of the Human Development Index (HDI) for the Canadian provinces and territories from 2000 to 2014. The report explores a wide variation in the quality of life enjoyed by Canadians. It shows that while Albertans enjoy a quality of life similar to that of Switzerland or Denmark, residents of Nunavut face a quality of life similar to that of Latvia or Croatia. A press release is available for this report.
On July 21, 2016, the CSLS released two reports: Creating Opportunity in Inuit Nunangat: The Crisis in Inuit Education and Labour Market Outcomes by Nico Palesch and Nunavik's Labour Market and Educational Attainment Paradox by Jasmin Thomas. The first report documents the labour market, educational, and economic development outcomes of the Inuit in Inuit Nunangat by examining past and present labour market outcomes and relating them to developments in the major industries across the four regions of Inuit Nunangat. The second report explores the factors that are driving the strong labour market outcomes in Nunavik, one of the four regions of Inuit Nunangat.
On July 18, 2016, the CSLS released a report entitled Further Evidence on the Contribution of Services Outsourcing to the Decline in Manufacturing’s Employment Share in Canada by Matthew Calver and Evan Capeluck. This report revisits the results of an earlier CSLS report to further examine how outsourcing of work from the manufacturing sector to the services sector contributed to the recorded decline in Canadian manufacturing employment over the past four decades. Utilizing new custom data products provided by Statistics Canada, the report finds that the contribution of services outsourcing to the decline of manufacturing’s employment share was quite small, explaining no more than 8.3 per cent.
On July 13, 2016, the CSLS released a report entitled Trends in Low Wage Employment in Canada: Incidence, Gap and Intensity, 1997-2014 by Jasmin Thomas. Using micro-data from the Labour Force Survey, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of the trends in low-wage incidence, gap and intensity. Low wage incidence is defined as the proportion of workers aged 20 to 64 earning less than two-thirds of the median hourly wage of full-time workers. The low-wage gap reflects the depth of low-wage employment. A measure of low-wage employment is arguably most the important component of job quality because an individual’s labour market earnings largely determine their living standards. In 2014, slightly more than one in four employees aged 20 to 64 years (27.6 per cent) were considered low-wage. A press release is available for this report. A Globe and Mail article is also available.
On July 5, 2016, the CSLS released a report entitled Slower Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being in the Canadian Context: A Discussion Paper by Mike Pennock from the B.C. Ministry of Health. The report investigates how slower economic growth will affect Canadian levels of well-being, arguing that the most serious threat to well-being that is associated with the slow-growth scenario is an expected increase in income inequality and household debt. Canada may be particularly vulnerable to these effects because it is entering a slow growth era with relatively high levels of inequality and household debt, relative to most other mature nations. A press release is available for this issue. A Hill Times Article is available.
On June 29, 2016, the CSLS released the Spring 2016 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. The issue features eight articles on a range of productivity issues: the challenges of measuring productivity in the digital economy; productivity trends and policies in Mexico; a comparison of Australian and Canadian productivity growth; productivity growth in U.S. agriculture; productivity in Canadian freight railways; global productivity growth; productivity convergence; and productivity strategies. A press release is available for this issue.
On June 28, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “Firm-level Total Factor Productivity: Canadian Freight Railways, 1986-2009" by James Uguccioni. This report estimates various productivity measures for Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP). Productivity growth at both railways significantly outperformed the Canadian economy throughout the period of study. Although CN's level of productivity was well below CP in the mid-1980s, it had become the leading firm by early 2000s.
On June 24, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “A Comparison of Australian and Canadian Productivity Performance: Lessons for Canada." This report examines the impact of public policy on Australia's productivity performance and discusses possible lessons for Canada from this experience. To do this, the report conducts a comprehensive analysis of the productivity performance of both countries, with particular interest in determining which underlying factors can explain Australia's superior productivity growth in recent years. In addition, the report discusses literature on the effects of public policy on Australian productivity performance since the 1990s. A press release is available here.
On June 1, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released two reports entitled “A Tepid Recovery: The Index of Economic Well-Being for Canada and the Provinces, 1981-2014” and “Equality and Economic Security Take a Hit: The Index of Economic Well-Being for Selected OECD Countries, 1980-2014” both authored by Jasmin Thomas and James Uguccioni. These reports document trends in economic well-being, as measured by a composite indicator developed by the CSLS. The key findings from these reports are that economic well-being in Canada, the provinces, and many other OECD countries has been slow to recover since 2008, driven by declines in equality and economic security. A press release is available here. A Global and Mail article is available here.
On May 15, 2016 CSLS Chair Alan Nymark passed away after a brief illness. The Board of Directors of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards extends its deepest sympathy to Alan’s family at this very difficult time. Alan’s passing is a massive loss to the CSLS. His leadership of the organization will be greatly missed. A celebration of Alan’s life will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at the Westin Hotel at 1 PM. The obituary that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on May 17 is available here.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has organized six sessions for this year's Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario from June 3 to June 5. The titles of the CSLS sessions are:
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 50th Annual Conference can be found on the CEA website.
On April 6, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “Productivity Trends in the Canadian Transport Sector: An Overview” by Fanny McKellips and Matthew Calver. This report documents recent trends in productivity and related variables in Canada’s rail, air, trucking, and urban transit industries. Productivity growth has been quite strong in the trucking, air, and rails sectors due to technological advances, competitive pressures, deregulation, improved fuel efficiency, and capital investment. In contrast, productivity has fallen in the urban transit sector due in part to expansion of services. The report suggests several policy options to enhance transportation productivity going forward. A press release is available here.
- Aboriginal Governance and Economic Development Issues (joint with CD Howe)
- Full Employment in the 21st Century: Relevant Policy? Attainable Goal?" - A Mike McCracken Memorial Panel (joint with PEF and CABE)
- Is the Canadian Labour Market Generating High-Quality Jobs? (joint with PEF)
- Perspectives on Productivity Issues
- Is Effective Governance Feasible for All First Nations? (joint with CD Howe)
- Perspectives on the Measurement of Economic Well-Being
On December 23, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Fall 2015 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. This issue features articles on the following topics: the role of productivity in long-term economic and fiscal projections for the Canadian provinces and territories, productivity in residential care facilities in Canada, agricultural total factor productivity in Australia, Canada and the United States, and theoretical and empirical gross output TFP growth and value added TFP growth reconciliation, as well as a review article on an OECD report entitled The Future of Productivity. A press release is available for this issue. Don Drummond's review article of the OECD report on productivity was recently discussed in the Globe and Mail.
On November 20, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled "Interprovincial Migration in Canada: Implications for Output and Productivity Growth, 1987-2014" by Roland Tusz, Erika Rodrigues, and Matthew Calver. Better economic opportunities are a major driver of interprovincial migration patterns. Redistribution of Canada's working age population from low productivity, high unemployment provinces to high productivity, low employment provinces has generated substantial increases in national GDP and labour productivity. The authors estimate that interprovincial migration in 2014 raised Canada's GDP by $1.23 billion (chained 2007 dollars) in that year, about 0.07 per cent of GDP. While this figure may seem relatively small, net provincial migration flows over extended periods of time can have a much greater impact. Cumulative interprovincial migration since 1987 is estimated to have raised Canadian GDP in 2014 by $15.8 billion (0.9 per cent of GDP) and labour productivity by $675 per worker. A press release is available for this report.
On October 29, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released two studies by CSLS economist Evan Capeluck that address the factors behind the fall in the manufacturing employment share from 20 per cent in 1976 to the current 10 per cent: "The Evolution of Manufacturing Employment in Canada: The Role of Outsourcing" and "Explanations of the Decline in Manufacturing Employment in Canada". Above average labour productivity growth explains most of the decline before 2000, while falling output explains most of the decline after 2000.Output per hour in manufacturing grew at a 2.9 per cent average annual rate in the 1976-2000 period, well above the business sector average of 1.6 per cent. In contrast, in the 2000-2013 period, labour productivity growth in manufacturing averaged 1.0 per cent per, almost identical to that of the business sector (0.9 per cent). Manufacturing output collapsed in Canada after 2000. After advancing at a 3.3 per cent average annual rate in the 1976-2000 period, output in manufacturing fell 1.1 per cent per year between 2000 and 2013. The level of output in the sector in 2013 was 87 per cent of that of 2000. It is very difficult for a sector in decline to sustain strong productivity growth. The report concludes that the fall in real output growth after 2000 reflects the manufacturing sector’s poor export performance which in turn is related to several factors, including: a loss in cost competitiveness linked to an appreciation of the Canadian dollar; increased competition in the U.S. import market; and a slowdown in domestic demand growth in the United States. A press release is available for this report.
On October 11, 2015, CSLS Executive Director Andrew Sharpe made a presentation entitled “Canada’s Cost Competitiveness: An Exchange Rate and Productivity Story” in a session on North American Productivity and Competitiveness at the 57th Annual Meeting of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) in Washington, DC. The presentation is available here.
On October 6, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released two reports prepared for the National Association of Friendship Centres that examine the Aboriginal labour market in Canada. In the first report, Fanny McKellips provides a detailed discussion of the currently available labour market infromation on Aboriginal Canadians. In the second report, Jasmin Thomas provides a comprehensive survey of best practices in labour market forecasting and then applies these best practices to a labour market forecasting model for the Canadian Aboriginal population.
On September 30, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released "Preliminary Estimates of Good Life Time (GLT) in Canada Using the General Social Survey," a report authored by Michael Wolfson and Kar-Fai Gee.This report constructs estimates of a new measure of economic well-being, Good Life Time, in Canada for 1992, 1998, 2005, and 2010. Good life time is an extension of life expectancy which captures the amount of time individuals can expect to simultaneously have adequate income and health, and the free time to enjoy them. The authors estimate that 59.2 per cent of Canadian men above the age of 15 had sufficient income, health, and time in 2010, compared to 47.6 per cent of women in the same age group.
On September 30, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released two reports on poverty in the United States and Australia. The reports used microdata from both countries to construct estimates of poverty-related variables that are comparable to EU estimates from Eurostat. Estimates were made for the Gini coefficient for the overall population, and for the poverty gap and the poverty rate for the overall population, the elderly population, and single-parent headed households. The U.S. results show that poverty was higher in the United States in 2013 than in all 13 EU countries examined for three of the five poverty variables and within the top three in the other two measures. The estimates for Australia, although slighlty lower than the U.S., also show that poverty in Australia was higher than in almost all other European countries for most of the measures examined. In both countries, elderly poverty rates are much more severe than in the 13 EU countries in these studies.
On September 17, the CSLS is pleased to announce the appointment of four new members to its Board of Directors:
- Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the Business Council of British Columbia
- Michael Horgan, Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones Ottawa
- Richard Lipsey, Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University
- Frances Woolley, Professor of Economics at Carleton University and Vice President of the Canadian Economics Association
The CSLS would like to thank the following four board members for their contributions to the organization during this many years of service:
On September 15, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report by Don Drummond, Evan Capeluck and Matthew Calver entitled "The Key Challenge for Canadian Public Policy: Generating Inclusive and Sustainable Growth." This report was motivated by a report from the CSLS that undertook economic and fiscal projections for all provinces and territories to 2038 and found that, based on current trends of slower GDP growth, government revenues will be insufficient to maintain needed increases in health spending, given an aging population. There are three possible approaches to this fiscal challenge: a focus on expenditure restraint; tax increases; or finding innovative solutions to increase Canada’s capacity for growth which strengthens the fiscal position of governments and earnings for Canadians. The authors recommend the latter. Hence, this report sets out a broad array of policy recommendations for governments to achieve better incomes for all Canadians while ensuring a more sustainable environment for all. A key theme of the report is that Canada’s market-oriented reforms have failed to generate a golden age of economic prosperity. Simply creating a level playing field for competition and then passively hoping that growth will happen may not be the best approach. Government must do more to support actors to make optimal decisions in the competitive marketplace. The report identifies many opportunities for the government to play an active role in mentoring businesses and individuals, providing information for decision making, and offering assistance to those who struggle to participate in the Canadian economy. A press release is available for this report.
- Dr. Paul Davenport
- Professor Richard G. Harris
- Professor Morley Gunderson
- Professor Keith Banting
On August 12, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report that examines the impact of the choice of poverty measure for trends in the Index of Economic Well-Being (IEWB). There are two types of poverty measures in Canada, an absolute measure called the Low-Income Cut-off or LICO and a relative measure called the Low-Income Measure or LIM. Between 1981 and 2011 the LIM poverty measure for the overall population rose 5.0 per cent in Canada, while the LICO measure fell 24.1 per cent. Since trends in the IEWB are inversely related to trends in the poverty rate, the IEWB estimates based on the LICO showed significantly greater improvement than those based on the LIM: 0.165 points versus 0.125 points.
On August 10, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “Development of Estimates for Household Production of Non-Market Services in OECD Countries for the Index of Economic Well-Being." This report provides an overview of the standard approaches used to estimate the value of household production. It also estimates the impact of including the value of household production in the measure of consumption flows on the Index of Economic Well-Being for OECD countries in 2008. Including these estimated values of household production in the calculation of total consumption flows significantly altered total consumption flows and it had an impact on relative rankings of countries. Canada has the eight highest consumption flows per capita if household production is not considered, but adding them reduces Canada's rank to twelfth, or third worst of the fourteen countries considered.
On July 23, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “Long-term Fiscal and Economic Projections for Canada and the Provinces and Territories, 2014-2038” written by Don Drummond and Evan Capeluck. The report presents long-term fiscal and economic projections for Canada, the provinces and the territories for the 2014-2038 period, and discusses their implications for budgetary balance at the provincial/territorial level. In particular, it examines whether economic growth and hence revenue growth (assuming no major changes in tax policy) will be sufficient to fund likely spending pressures. Economic growth is generally projected to be slower over the next 24 years than since 2000. As a result, all, or almost all, provinces and territories, depending upon the economic assumptions, will not be able to meet the test of balancing revenue growth with growth in public spending. Hence, without tax rate increases or action to curtail spending growth, there will be pressure for progressively larger deficits. A press release is available for this report. An op-ed in iPolitics covering this article is available here.
On July 22, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report on the socio-economic development of the Metis in Canada. The report identifies appropriate indicators to benchmark Metis socio-economic development against non-Aboriginal socio-economic development, while establishing a benchmark against which future progress can be gauged. Quite briefly, there have been strong gains in Metis socio-economic development, especially concerning income and education. In particular, Metis median income reached 86.7 per cent of non-Aboriginal median income in 2010, up from 72.9 per cent in 2000. In terms of education, the share of the Metis with a college, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma as their highest degree actually surpassed the share of the non-Aboriginal population in similar areas by 2011. However, there are still a number of gaps that remain. For example, the Metis continue to have poorer indicators of health, especially concerning smoking. Furthermore, the Metis still have lower levels of suitable housing than the non-Aboriginal population. One of the most interesting findings of the report is the large gaps that exist within the Metis Nation between provinces. The report concludes that concerted efforts, determined cooperation, and substantial participation from Metis leaders and Metis organizations at both the provincial and national level will be required to close the remaining gaps between provinces within the Metis Nation and between the aggregate Metis and non-Aboriginal populations.
On July 20, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released two reports on productivity in the forest products sector in Quebec and Ontario over the 2000-2013 period. The report was commissioned by the Forest Products Association of Canada. The reports find that the forest product sector in both provinces was hit by a perfect storm in the 2000s. The demand for the forest products was devastated by structural factors such as the decline in demand for paper caused by the shift to electronic media and the rise in the value of the Canadian dollar and, after 2007, cyclical factors arising from the financial crisis and the collapse in U.S. housing construction. When demand is weak, productivity growth is also generally weak. But this was not the case in the forest products sector. Survival required that employers cut hours worked even faster than demand was falling. Between 2000 and 2013, employers in the forest products sector in Quebec reduced hours worked at a 4.8 per cent average annual rate, compared to only the 1.1 per cent fall in output, resulting in labour productivity growth of 3.7 per cent per year. Adversity thus drove this strong productivity performance, the second best among all 20 two-digit industries in the province. The same phenomenon was at play in Ontario, although to a lesser extent. Hours worked in the forest products sector fell 4.7 per cent per year while output fell 3.8 per cent, resulting in labour productivity growth of 1.0 per cent per year, which was above the all-industry average for the province. A press release is available for this report. A Globe and Mail article for this report is available here.
On June 29, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report on productivity in Ontario. The report was commissioned by the Ontario Ministry of Finance. After advancing at a 1.9 per cent average annual rate between 1987 and 2000, business sector productivity growth has fallen to 0.5 per cent per year between 2000 and 2012, the second lowest growth rate among the provinces. The report provides an overview of the productivity performance of the Ontario economy and examines both the supply-side and demand-side factors that influenced Ontario’s productivity performance. The main cause of Ontario’s lackluster productivity growth is found to be the deterioration of external demand conditions. The drop in international exports, due to weak demand growth in the United States, loss of cost competitiveness linked to the appreciation of Canadian dollar and increasing international competition, played an important role in the slowdown in Ontario’s productivity growth. A Globe and Mail article is available here.
On June 25, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Spring 2015 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. This issue features articles on the following topis: the measurement of industry contributions to labour productivity growth; the benefits of closing the Aboriginal education gap; the impact of public policies on bargaining power and the pay/productivity linkage; the relationship between employment and productivity growth; and the contribution of ICT diffusion and investment to labour productivity growth. A press release for this issue of the journal is available here.
On June 25, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report on closing the Aboriginal education gap in Canada. This report has two major goals. The first goal is to assess progress on the gaps in educational attainment and labour market outcomes between 2001 and 2011 and the consequences of any progress (or lack thereof) for the Canadian economy. The second goal is to produce updated estimates of the benefits of eliminating the educational attainment gap. Utilizing projections of the Aboriginal population in 2031 and data from the 2011 National Household survey, the CSLS estimates the effects of closing the educational attainment gap on Aboriginal labour market outcomes and national economic performance. The CSLS provides breakdowns of the benefits by province, sex, age, Aboriginal identity, registered Indian status, and residence on- and off-reserve. The CSLS projects that the direct cumulative economic benefits to Canada of closing the educational attainment gap between 2011 and 2031 could be as large as $261 billion (2010 dollars). An abridged version of this report is available in the International Productivity Monitor.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has organized five sessions for this year's Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference at Ryerson University in Toronto from May 29 - 31. The titles of the CSLS sessions are:
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 49th Annual Conference can be found on the CEA website.
- First Nations Education after the Withdrawal of Bill- C33 (joint with CD Howe Institute)
- Issues in Aboriginal Economic Development (joint with CD Howe Institute)
- The STEM Skills Report (joint with Canadian Council of Academies)
- Productivity Issues
- Merits of a Poverty Reduction Versus Income Inequality Reduction Agenda for Canada (joint with PEF)
On February 25, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report in partnership with the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs of Carleton University (NPSIA) on the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and their successors, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More specifically, as the MDGs reach their end date in 2015, negotiations are ramping up at the United Nations for the establishment of a new set of SDGs. The SDGs, to be announced in September this year, will replace the MDGs and serve as a universal framework for achieving sustainable development outcomes in all countries by 2030, including Canada. This report takes an in-depth look at what the SDGs could mean for Canada, providing a concise overview of the report in the eight areas it covers: poverty, education, employment and inequality, energy, the environment, infrastructure, governance and international cooperation in Canada. Key themes discussed include global and national sustainable development priorities, challenges and opportunities for implementation of the SDGs, and data availability for measuring progress. Report highlights are available here.
On January 15, 2015, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report which concluded that even when the United States was experiencing a more severe economic downturn than Canada, from 2008 to 2013, its business sector was investing more than the Canadian business sector in ICT. From a per worker perspective, the Canadian situation is worse: ICT investment per worker decreased. In 2013, the investment gap per worker was 50 per cent: for every dollar the Canadian business sector invested in ICT per worker, the United States business sector invested two dollars. A press release for this report is available here.
December 22, 2014
On October 28, 2014, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a new report entitled "What Explains the Canada-U.S. Software Investment Intensity Gap?". The objective of this report is to investigate the reasons why Canadian businesses invest substantially less in software than their U.S. counterparts. The report reviews the state of the software investment landscape in Canada, discusses the views of industry experts obtained through key informant interviews, and assesses possible explanations for the software gap. About one-third of the gap can be assigned to differences in labour productivity, industry structure, and measurement methodologies between the two countries. The remaining two-thirds are more difficult to explain. A press release for this publication is available here.
- The Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Fall 2014 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. The issue contains an article “The Impact of the Oil Boom on Canada’s Labour Productivity Performance, 2000-2012” which explores the channels, both direct and indirect, by which the oil and gas sector affects productivity growth. The article finds that effect of the oil boom on Canada’s mediocre aggregate productivity performance are complex and poorly understood. Labour productivity in the Canadian oil and gas sector fell at a 6.4 per cent average annual rate between 2000 and 2012. This negative contribution was however offset by a positive reallocation effect, reflecting the high labour productivity level of the sector and the net inflow of workers. The net effect resulted in the oil and gas sector making a very small positive direct contribution to labour productivity growth. Labour productivity growth has been very strong (10.7 per cent per year) in the non-conventional oil and gas industry (i.e. oil sands) since 2007, the first year for which data for this sub-sector are available. This reflects the increasing importance of steam-assisted gravity-drainage (SAGD) technologies and learning-by-doing. A Globe and Mail article is available here.
- This issue of the International Productivity Monitor also contains articles on the following topics: directions for future productivity research, with contributions from five leading international productivity researchers, the contribution of intangible assets to productivity growth in Ontario, the influence of natural resources on productivity; and productivity trends in the Canadian forest products sector. A press release for this publication is available here.
With great regret, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards announces the passing of Ian Stewart, CSLS Chair from its founding in 1995 to April 2014. Ian passed away on October 24 from cancer at the age of 83. An obituary is available here.
On May 15, 2014, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a new report entitled “Convergence across Provincial Economies in Canada: Trends, Drivers, and Implications”. This report examines the current state of provincial differences in twenty-five economic variables related to income, productivity, the labour market, well-being and fiscal capacity, and analyzes trends toward or away from convergence for these economic variables. This report also examines the factors influencing these trends and discusses the implications for the federation. The report draws upon the CSLS Convergence Database. A press release for this publication is available here.
On May 8, 2014, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the “2014 Canada Report” prepared as part of the Germany-based Bertelsmann Foundation’s third edition of its Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) project. SGI 2014 is a cross-national survey of 41 OECD and EU countries that analyzes each country’s future viability based on 140 quantitative and qualitative indicators. It ranks countries in terms of policy performance, quality of democracy, and governance. The Centre for the Study of Living Standards is the Canadian partner for the project and produced both the scores for Canada and the detailed assessment of policies found in the Canada report. Canada’s performance in the 2014 rankings was middling, and showed deterioration since the rankings were last released in 2011. A press release for this publication is available here.
On May 6, 2014, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a new report entitled “A Detailed Analysis of Productivity Trends in the Canadian Forest Products Sector”. This report provides a detailed analysis of output, input and productivity trends in the Canadian forest products sector and looks at the key drivers of productivity, investigating potential barriers to productivity growth and discussing policies that could enable faster growth. The sector enjoyed strong productivity gains in the 2000-2012 period, driven in particular by the wood product manufacturing subsector. A press release for this publication is available here.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has organized four sessions for this year's Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver from May 29 - June 1. The titles of the CSLS sessions are:
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 48th Annual Conference can be found on the CEA website.
- What is Happening to Well-Being in Canada (joint with PEF)
- Aboriginal Education Issues (Joint session with CD Howe Institute)
- Productivity Issues
- Developments in Well-Being Research
On December 10, 2013, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Fall 2013 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. In the lead article Explaining Slower Productivity Growth: The Role of Weak Demand Growth, Someshwar Rao from S. Rao Consulting Inc. and Jiang Li from the University of Victoria find that the weak output growth since 2000, reflecting weaker demand growth, was in fact largely responsible for the productivity slowdown experienced in Canada. Their econometric analysis shows that weaker demand reduces labour productivity growth through a number of channels, including fewer economies of scale and scope, weaker investment, and slower human capital formation.
This issue of the International Productivity Monitor also contains articles on the following topics: the sectoral productivity performance of Ontario industries; the sensitivity of multifactor productivity growth in Canada and the United States to alternative methodologies and assumptions; the role of measurement issues in explaining the Canada-U.S. ICT investment gap; the potential contribution of firm-level data to productivity analysis; and policies to improve government productivity performance. A press release for this publication is available here.
On November 6, 2013, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a new study entitled “Overview of Developments in ICT Investment in Canada in 2012”. After two years of robust growth in 2010 and 2011, following the 2009 collapse, ICT investment growth in Canada slowed down in 2012. Real ICT investment increased only 5.0 per cent in 2012, down from 9.5 per cent in 2011 and 11.2 per cent in 2010. All three major ICT components – namely, computers, software, and telecommunications equipment – experienced a slow down in terms of real investment.
On July 26, 2013, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “A Detailed Analysis of Newfoundland and Labrador's Productivity Performance, 1997-2010: The Impact of the Oil Boom.” Propelled by the mining and oil and gas sector, Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy experienced impressive growth in the past decade. During the 1997-2010 period, real GDP in the province's business sector increased at nearly twice the rate of Canada's, while the province's labour productivity growth was more than three times greater than Canada's. This report provides a detailed analysis of Newfoundland and Labrador's productivity performance and the factors behind this performance. It identifies the province’s shift to high productivity oil extraction activities as the main factor responsible for this remarkable productivity growth, while also discussing the positive spill-over effects that this shift has had on Newfoundland and Labrador's economy as a whole. A press release is available for this report.
On May 29, 2013, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “Can the Canada-U.S. ICT investment Gap Be a Measurement Issue?” In 2011, information and communications technology (ICT) investment per worker in Canada was only 57.8 per cent of the U.S. level. The report investigates whether this investment gap is an artifact of methodological differences between Statistics Canada and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, finding that measurement issues account for only 10 per cent of the gap. This indicates that the Canada-U.S. ICT investment gap is a real phenomenon. Furthermore, the report finds that the gap is heavily concentrated in software investment and in a small number of ICT-intensive industries, particularly in information and cultural industries. A press release is available for this report.
On May 23, 2013, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled "Labour Market Prospects for the Métis in the Canadian Mining Industry." The report argues that the Métis population has unique demographic characteristics – such as their youthfulness and their overrepresentation in rural and remote areas – that could create competitive advantages for employment in the mining industry in the medium-term. The report provides an overview of Métis participation in the Canadian mining industry, discussing potential barriers to Métis employment and highlighting actions and strategies that could help the Métis overcome these barriers and maximize their opportunities in the sector.
On May 23, 2013, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled "Labour Market Information for Employers and Economic Immigrants in Canada: A Country Study," prepared for the International Organization for Migration. The report draws lessons from the Canadian immigration experience, examining the services provided to immigrants by the federal and provincial governments, and identifying best practices, which include: establishing national standards for the recognition of foreign qualification; simplifying the delivery of services by using one-stop shops or single-points-of-contact; involving local stakeholders in the development of policy and delivery of service; and maintaining a flexible immigration policy.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has organized six sessions for this year's Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference in Montreal, May 30 - June 2. The titles of the CSLS sessions are:
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 47th Annual Conference can be found on the CEA website.
On April 10, 2013, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Spring 2013 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. The issue contains a number of articles on the outlook for productivity growth by prominent economists. The lead article by Martin Baily from the Brooking Institution, James Manyika from the McKinsey Global Institute and Shalabh Gupta from McKinsey & Company provides an optimistic assessment of future productivity growth in the United States. In response, Robert J. Gordon from Northwestern University makes the case that slow productivity growth has returned after its temporary revival in the 1995-2004, and David Byrne from the Federal Reserve Board, Stephen Oliner from UCLA and the American Enterprise Institute and Dan Sichel from Wellesley College argue that the information revolution is not over and, as a result, US productivity growth may well return to its the long-term average growth rate of 2.25 per cent per year. Chad Syverson from the University of Chicago notes the similarities in the productivity growth paths between the electrification and IT eras, which might suggest a productivity resurgence.
- Aboriginal Labour Market and Education Issues (co-organized with the CD Howe Institute)
- Income Inequality Issues (co-organized with Canada 2020)
- Productivity Research from the United States, UK, France, and Canada (co-organized with Banque de France)
- Panel on "What Has Happened to Living Standards in Canada?" (co-organized with the Progressive Economic Forum)
- Panel on "Multifactor Productivity Growth in Canada: Trends, Measurement Issues and Interpretation?"
- Productivity Developments at the Provincial Level in Canada
Andrea De Michelis and Beth Anne Wilson from the Federal Reserve Board and Marcello Estevao from the IMF present evidence that firms adjust production efficiency in response to labour supply development, making total factor productivity growth endogenous. They conclude that for countries, like Canada, close to the technological frontier with good institutions and adequate support for research, development, and entrepreneurship, concerns about slow TFP growth may be less pressing as long as labour input growth remains strong. In the final article Bart van Ark, Vivian Chen and Kirsten Jager from the U.S. Conference Board provide a detailed examination of European productivity growth since 2000 and outline future prospects.
On December 19, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Fall 2012 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. The lead article by Dale Jorgenson from Harvard University provides an overview of the World KLEMS initiative, which puts together detailed industry-level productivity datasets for countries around the world.
The Fall issue also includes a symposium on the measurement of multifactor productivity in Canada. Erwin Diewert (UBC) and Emily Yu (DFAIT) construct alternative estimates for multifactor productivity in the Canadian business sector, arguing that Canada had a far better productivity performance than what the official numbers indicate. This sparks a highly relevant debate among experts in the area, with contributions by Wulong Gu (Statistics Canada); Paul Schreyer (OECD); and Michael Harper (former BLS), Alice Nakamura (University of Alberta) and Lu Zhang (University of Alberta).
Finally, the issue also contains articles by Barbara Fraumeni (University of Southern Maine) on the new concept of human capital productivity; Peter Jarrett (OECD) on the long-term outlook for economic and productivity growth in Canada; Ricardo de Avillez on how the choice of decomposition formula impacts estimated sectoral contributions to labour productivity growth in the Canadian business sector; and an interview by Chris Ragan (McGill University) with economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson on their recent book, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty.
On September 27, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled "The Impact of Redistribution on Income Inequality in Canada and the Provinces, 1981-2010.” Using data from Statistics Canada, the report provides an overview of trends in income inequality, defined as the Gini coefficient, in Canada and the provinces over the 1981-2010 period and investigates the impact of redistributive policies – namely, taxes and transfers – on these trends. Income inequality is measured in terms of market income, total income, and after-tax income, with the latter considered the most important from a well-being perspective. The report finds that government spending and transfers offset 44 per cent of the rise in the market income Gini coefficient between 1981 and 2010. A press release is available for this report
On September 25, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled "Canadians Are Happy and Getting Happier: An Overview of Life Satisfaction in Canada: 2003-2011.” Using data from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey, the report finds that in 2011 92.3 per cent of Canadians 12 and over reported they were satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. This is up from 91.3 per cent in 2003. According to the Gallop World Poll Canada is the second most happy country in the world. A press release is available for this report.
On September 18, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report which concluded that in 2011, ICT investment continued to make a strong comeback in Canada following the decline in investment during the 2009 recession; however, ICT investment performance was not as strong as enjoyed in 2010. Tepid ICT investment growth in the non-business sector put downward pressure on total economy ICT investment growth, but the business sector’s solid ICT investment growth offset the non-business sector’s poor performance.
On June 29, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a study entitled “Innovation in Canadian Natural Resource Industries: A System-Based Analysis of Performance, Policy and Emerging Challenges". The objective of this report, prepared for Natural Resources Canada, is to broaden and deepen our understanding of innovation in Canadian natural resource industries, and to identify strengths and weaknesses of the sector in terms of innovative capacity. The key conclusion of the report is that the overall innovation performance of the Canadian natural resources sector is strong and has improved in recent years. A press release is available for this report. A summary of this report has also been published in The World Financial Review Jan/Feb 2013 edition.
On June 28, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a study entitled “The Impact of Information and Communication Technology on the Productivity of the Canadian Transportation System: A Macroeconomic Approach for the Air and Rail Sectors". The study, prepared for Transport Canada, provides a detailed analysis of ICT investment, ICT capital, and productivity trends in Canadian air and rail transportation, comparing these trends to those seen in U.S. air and rail transportation. A press release is available for this report.
On June 25, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a study entitled “A Detailed Analysis of Nova Scotia’s Productivity Performance, 1997-2010”. The study was prepared for the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. It provides a detailed analysis of Nova Scotia’s labour and capital productivity performance and the factors behind this performance. It identifies weak machinery and equipment investment and low levels of business R&D as the two factors most responsible for the province’s productivity gap. A press release is available for this report.
On June 20, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a study entitled “Aboriginal Labour Market Performance in Canada: 2007-2011”. Using Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (which excludes Aboriginal Canadians living on-reserve), the report provides a portrait of the Aboriginal labour market in 2011 and compares Aboriginal labour market performance to non-Aboriginal Canadians over the 2007-2011 period at the national level, and also by gender, age group, province, and main heritage group (First Nations or Métis). The report also discusses the implications of future labour market developments for Aboriginal Canadians and for the labour market policies and programs that support their labour market performance. A press release is available for this report.
On May 18, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a major study entitled “The Human Development Index in Canada: Estimates for the Canadian Provinces and Territories”. This is the first study that has developed estimates of the Human Development Index (HDI) for the provinces and territories that are consistent with the official HDI estimates for Canada produced by the United Nations. A press release is available for this report.
On May 17, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report analyzing the latest developments in ICT investment in Canada and the United States. The report finds that the Canada-U.S. ICT investment per worker gap continued widening in 2010, with the ratio of nominal ICT investment per worker in Canada relative to that of the United States falling from 53.5 per cent in 2009 to 53.0 per cent in 2010. The widening of the gap reflects the weak ICT investment growth in Canada in 2010. The report draws upon the 2010 update of the CSLS ICT Database.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has organized four sessions for this year's Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference, June 7-10, in Calgary. The titles of the CSLS sessions are:
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 45th Annual Conference can be found on the CEA website.
The economic and fiscal crisis in Greece continues to deepen, with the outcome at this point unknown. One scenario sees Greece leaving the euro zone, with very serious implications for Europe. To shed light on this perilous situation, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives organized a luncheon on May 1st, 2012 with Richard Parker from Harvard University. From 2009 to 2011 he served as economic advisor to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, an experience that gives him a unique perspective on the Greek crisis. More information on the lecture "The Greek Economic Crisis and Implications for Europe" is available here
On April 12, 2012, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Spring 2012 issue of the International Productivity Monitor. The lead article Stimulating Innovation: Is Canada Pursuing the Right Policies? by Marcel Côté and Roger Miller from Secor argues that current policies to promote business innovation in Canada are not working and develops a new framework for understanding innovation.
- Perspectives on First Nations Governance Issues
- Issues on Aboriginal Economic Development
- Canada’s Economic Destiny: The Outlook for Productivity Growth in Canada
- New Approaches to Well-being and Poverty
Other articles are on new direct measures of the use of computer technologies in Canada and the United States and implications for Canadian productivity growth; the reasons behind the large divergence between labour productivity and real median wage growth in the United States over the 1973-2011 period; the relationship between educational attainment, employment rates and productivity in OECD countries; and the treatment in the national accounts of measures of volume output for education and health services. A press release for this publication is available here.
On March 1, 2012 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the update of the CSLS Productivity Database for the period 1997 to 2010 with estimates of productivity by province and industry.
The CSLS has created a Media page for their website. Take a look. Our Media page will be located on the right hand side of our toolbar, located at the top of this page.
On January 12, 2012 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the research paper “A Comparison of Inequality and Living Standards in Canada and the United States Using an Expanded Measure of Economic Well Being". The study represents the first international comparison based on the Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-being (LIMEW), which differs from the standard measure of gross money income by including noncash government transfers, public consumption, household production, and income from wealth.
On December 21, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Fall issue of the International Productivity Monitor. This issue contains five articles: an introductory piece dissecting where Canada's productivity problem really lies; an investigation of the relationship between innovation and productivity in Canadian manufacturing establishments; an examination of the phenomenon of deindustrialization of the manufacturing sector in the context of Sweden; a detailed examination of the industry contributions to real GDP growth and labour productivity growth in Canada and the United States; and an overview of productivity trends in the Canadian agricultural sector over the last half century. A press release for this publication is available here.
On December 7, 2011 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a major study “Measuring the Contribution of Modern Biotechnology to the Canadian Economy". Using an income-based methodology, the report estimates that the value added of biotechnology activities was approximately $15 billion in 2005, equivalent to 1.19 per cent of nominal GDP. The reports forecasts that the role of biotechnology in the economy will increase substantially in the future years and by 2030 will represent $144 billion. A press release is available for this report.
On September 19, 2011 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released a volume entitled New Directions for Public Policy in Canada: Papers in Honour of Ian Stewart. In his work as a public servant Ian Stewart brought a strong analytical focus to the role of the state. To extend this tradition, leading economists were commissioned to address specific policy issues from the perspective of intelligent policy. Contributors are Robin Boadway, Scott Clark, David Dodge, Don Drummond, Pierre Fortin, John Helliwell, Lars Osberg, Christopher Ragan, John Richards, Munir Sheikh, Stanley Winer, and Michael Wolfson. Hard copies of the volume can be purchased for $20 CAD (including HST and handling) here. Videos of speeches from the festschrift dinner in honour of Ian Stewart on September 16 and David Dodge’s presentation of the festschrift volume to Dr. Stewart are available here.
On September 6, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Autumn 2011 issue of its newsletter CSLS NEWS. It provides information on recent and upcoming CSLS events, including the festschrift dinner in honour of Ian Stewart, as well as the findings of recent and upcoming CSLS research reports and research notes. In this issue, the CSLS also welcomes its two new board members, Fred Gorbet and Chris Ragan.
On September 6, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released two new reports on the Index of Economic Well-being: Beyond GDP: Measuring Economic Well-being in Canada and the Provinces, 1981-2010 and Moving from a GDP-Based to a Well-being Based Metric of Economic Performance and Social Progress: Results from the Index of Economic Well-Being for OECD Countries, 1980-2009. The first report finds that the IEWB for Canada was 1.4 per cent higher in 2010 than it was in 2009, but that it has not yet recovered to its 2008 level. The second report finds that Norway maintains its top standing in the 2009 IEWB rankings of the group of 14 OECD countries considered, while Canada remains in ninth place.
A press release is available for these reports.
An interactive weighting tool is also available for the data in these reports.
On August 30, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled Human Capital and Productivity in British Columbia. This report, prepared for the BC Progress Board, provides an assessment of human capital development in British Columbia. The province’s performance is above average according to the majority of the indicators analyzed, relative to both the rest of Canada and other OECD countries. However, this does not mean that there is no room for improvement.
A press release is available from the BC Progress Board.
On August 29, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled The Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-Being: Estimates for Canada, 1999 and 2005. The report develops estimates of the Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-being (LIMEW) for Canada in order to estimate the average Canadian household’s total command over economic resources. This report indicates that the LIMEW in Canada grew modestly between 1999 and 2005 at 1.08 per cent per year.
The press release is available here.
On August 22, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled Economic Activity of the On-Reserve Aboriginal Identity Population in Canada: Gross Domestic Product Estimates for Indian Reserves, 2000 and 2005. This report develops earnings based estimates of the GDP of reserves in 2000 and 2005 using two approaches: a "top-down" approach that employs provincial-level data and a "bottom-up" approach that employs reserve-level data.
On August 10, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released two reports: A Detailed Analysis of the Productivity Performance of the Canadian Primary Agriculture Sector and A Detailed Analysis of the Productivity Performance of Canadian Food Manufacturing. The reports analyze labour productivity and MFP trends over the 1961-2007 period, and discuss the main sources and drivers of productivity growth in each of these sectors.
On July 22, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards announced that a dinner will be held on September 16, 2011 in honour of long-time CSLS Chair Ian Stewart on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The CSLS is honouring his distinguished professional career as an economic researcher and policy adviser with the release of a festschrift volume, New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada. The dinner, which will also be the official release of the festchrift volume, will take place on Friday, September 16, 2011 in the Laurier Room at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa, beginning at 7 PM, with registration and a reception starting at 6 PM. More information on the festschrift volume is available here.
On July 6, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released three new research reports.
The press release is available here.
On May 18, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Spring issue of the International Productivity Monitor. This issue contains five articles on: productivity and economic growth in Europe; productivity growth in the Canadian transportation equipment industry; differences in the provinces’ productivity performance over the 1997-2007 period; parallels between Latin America’s and Canada’s productivity performance; and the effects of the ageing of the workforce on productivity. A press release for this publication is available here.
On May 18, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released ten reports outlining the productivity performance of each province over the 1997-2007 period. The reports discuss growth rates and levels of labour, capital, and multifactor productivity for the provinces’ market sector as a whole, as well as at the two-digit NAICS level. A synthesis of the ten reports was also released and can be found here.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has organized four sessions for this year's Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference, June 2-5, in Ottawa. The titles of the CSLS sessions are:
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 45th Annual Conference can be found on the CEA website.
- New Insights into Productivity Growth in Canada
- Panel on Explaining the Growing Canada-US Productivity Gap
- Selected Papers from the Ian Stewart Festschrift New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada
- New Measures of Well-being for Canada
On March 31, 2011, the Bertelsmann Foundation released its 2011 Sustainable Governance Indicators report. The CSLS contributed to the report on Canada. In terms of the Sustainable Governance Status Index, Canada fell from 6th place in 2009 to 7th place in 2011 (out of 31 countries). More information on the Sustainable Governance Index is available on the SGI website.
On February 10, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a major report on university-business research collaboration in Canada and three reference countries: the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. The report, by CSLS Senior Research Associate Ian Currie, finds that Canadian businesses rely more on the higher education sector than businesses in other major OECD countries for R&D, but government policies can be strengthened to extract more economic and social value. Press Release.
On February 7, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a synthesis of the CSLS-ICP Conference on Happiness and Public Policy held on December 1, 2010, at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa. The synthesis provides an overview of the seven sessions of the conference and it reinforces that there are varying views on the interface between happiness research and public policy decisions. Public policy experts expressed more skepticism than researchers regarding how it will be incorporated into decision making at this time. The synthesis of the conference is available here.
On February 7, 2011, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report summarizing the services offered by private sector electronic labour exchances (ELEs) in Canada and the extent to which ELEs are being used in the Canadian labour market to match jobseekers and employers. The report finds that there is a robust private sector in ELE services in Canada. The private sector provides a broader range of services than the main public sector alternative, Job Bank. However, the report recommends that the public sector, through Job Bank, should build on its strength in providing ELE services targetted at low-skill workers and small businesses to address shortcomings in the private sector rather than duplicate their services. The report is available here.
On December 30, 2010, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released the Fall issue of the International Productivity Monitor. This issue contains five articles on: the impact of the economic crisis on potential output and productivity growth in Canada; the sensitivity of estimates of Canada-U.S. capital intensity and multifactor productivity gaps to depreciation assumptions; a sectoral and provincial decomposition of Canada’s post-2000 labour productivity slowdown; the role of creative destruction in Finnish productivity performance; and the influence of public policy on manufacturing productivity growth in India. A press release for this publication is available here.
On December 1, 2010, CSLS and the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity hosted a conference on happiness in Ottawa, Canada at the Chateau Laurier Hotel. This conference took stock of the existing research on happiness and consider whether governments should have happiness as an objective for public policy and, if so, what policies they should adopt. The presentations and some photos from the conference are available.
On November 23, 2010, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a major study on factors influencing the happiness or life satisfaction of Canadians. The report, based on data for 70,000 Canadians from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey and prepared in partnership with the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity (ICP), provides a comprehensive analysis of the happiness landscape in Canada, quantifies the many variables that determine happiness, and explains the variation in happiness across provinces, CMAs and health regions. The report provides strong support for the 2009 Stiglitz report commissioned by French President Nicholas Sarkozy that recommended greater emphasis be placed on happiness relative to GDP in the development of public policy. Press release and Executive Summary.
On November 18, the CSLS released a report providing an overview of developments in ICT investment in the business sector for both Canada and the United States in 2009. The report finds that the ICT investment per worker gap widened in 2009, with the ratio of nominal ICT investment per worker in Canada relative to that of the United States falling from 62.8 per cent in 2008 to 59.5 per cent in 2009. The report is based on an update to 2009 of the CSLS ICT Database.
Spring and Summer 2010
On June 24, the CSLS released a report providing new estimates of the levels and growth rates of labour, capital and multifactor productivity, labour quality, capital composition and capital intensity for Canada and the provinces at the market sector, two-digit and three-digit NAICS industry levels over the 1997-2007 period. The report finds that productivity developments in Newfoundland and Alberta -- respectively, the best- and worst-performing provinces in terms of productivity growth over the period -- were driven by the mining and oil and gas industry, which has exhibited very different productivity performances in the two provinces. In the rest of the country, the smaller provinces tended to underperform the larger ones across a variety of productivity growth metrics. The report is based on the new CSLS Provincial Productivity Database.
The CSLS also released two reports summarizing the state of knowledge on the role and impact of labour market information (LMI). The first report addresses the Canadian evidence, while the second covers the international evidence.
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards organized several sessions for the 2010 Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference, May 28 - 30, in Quebec City. The CSLS sessions will be on a variety of topics including: human capital of Aboriginals; labour productivity; happiness and well-being.
A full program of the Centre's sessions can be found here.
Details about the CEA 44th Annual Conference can be found here
On April 20, 2010, the Spring 2010 issue of the International Productivity Monitor was released.
This issue of the Monitor contains five articles. Canadian readers may be most interested in the article by Andrew Sharpe, which explores the contributions of various industries to Canada's post-2000 productivity slowdown. The author decomposes aggregate labour productivty growth into within-sector and sectoral reallocation effects. The results indicate that the reallocation of labour among sectors did not contribute to Canada's productivity slowdown. Rather, the significant decline in productivity growth in the manufacturing sector was responsible for the lion's share of the economy-wide slowdown. A press release for this article is available.
On February 12, the CSLS released two new reports examining Canada's poor productivity growth since 2000. The first report investigates the perplexing fact that Canada's lagging productivity growth has occurred in an increasingly market-oriented economic policy environment. The report finds
that the high degree of market orientation of public policy that already exists in Canada suggests that the productivity-enhancing effects of further liberalization may be quite small. The second report assesses Canada's lagging productivity and develops a clear framework for future research on the issue. It is argued that such a framework, based on a set of key knowledge gaps, is badly needed if we are to understand the causes of Canada's productivity challenges.
The CSLS also released a third report that summarizes previous research conducted by the CSLS on the potential benefits of increasing Aboriginal education in Canada, as well as a research note describing the developments in 2008 in the Canada-US ICT investment gap. The research note is based on the most recent update of the CSLS ICT Investment database.
On December 3, the CSLS released updated estimates of the Index of Economic Well-being and its four domains (consumption flows, stocks of wealth, economic equality and economic security) for Canada and the provinces and for selected OECD countries. Both in Canada and across the OECD, economic well-being has increased over the past quarter century as a result of growing per-capita consumption and wealth. However, rising economic inequality and insecurity have dampened the growth of overall economic well-being. The Index of Economic Well-being is consistent with most of the recommendations of the recently released Commission for the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (the Stiglitz report) on what aspects of economic reality an index of economic well-being should capture.
The CSLS also released a third report addressing the measurement of economic security in the Index of Economic Well-being. All three reports are now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website.
On October 22, the CSLS released a new research report examining recent productivity trends in the forest products sector. Since 2000, the productivity performance of the sector has been poor relative to the economy-wide average. This sub-par performance is entirely attributable to a productivity collapse in the paper manufacturing subsector after 2000. The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website. A press release is available for this report.
On September 3, the CSLS released two research reports examining productivity trends in the mining and in the oil and gas sectors. In both sectors, despite a poor productivity performance since 2000, increased activity and increased prices, coupled with a high productivity level, have translated into a positive contribution to aggregate labour productivity growth. These reports are now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website. A press release is available for this report.
As part of its collaboration with the Institute of Wellbeing, the CSLS released a report on August 12, 2009 “ The Economic Crisis through the Lens of Economic Wellbeing”. The report concludes that the current recession will erase many of the economic and standard of living gains made since the mid-1990s. Unemployment and poverty will likely continue to rise and stay at high levels for years. The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website.
On July 27, the CSLS released a new research note “Median Wages and Productivity Growth in Canada and the United States”.Two key findings were that (1) the rise in inequality was a much more important factor for the divergence between the growth rates of labour productivity and real wages in the United States and that (2) ambiguity in the interpretation of labour share suggests the attention should be more appropriately focused on rising inequality as a key driver of the divergence between the growth of real wages and labour productivity. The note is now available in the CSLS Research Notes section of the website.
The Advisory Panel on Labour Market Information recently tabled its Final Report. The CSLS has been an active participant to the Panel through its report “Best Practices in Labour Market Information: Recommendations for Canada's LMI System,” released in July 2009. The report presented 20 recommendations to improve the operation of LMI in Canada in the areas of LMI data, LMI analysis and forecasting, and LMI dissemination. A French version is also available. The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website.
The CSLS is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to the Board of Directors: Alan Nymark and Don Drummond. Alan Nymark recently retired from the position of Deputy Minister of Human Resources and Social Development. Don Drummond is the Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of TD Bank Financial Group.
On June 10, 2009, the Institute of Wellbeing and its signature product, the Canadian Index of Wellbeing were officially launched at the St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto. The CSLS has been an active participant in this important development, and in particular wrote the report on the living standards domain of the CIW.
On May 27, 2009, the CSLS released a new multifactor productivity database for Canada and the provinces. Unlike the earlier CSLS database, the new estimates adjust labour and capital inputs for changes in composition and are methodologically consistent with national estimates produced by Statistics Canada. The data cover the period 1997-2007 and 15 industries.
On May 27, 2009, the Spring 2009 issue of the International Productivity Monitor was released.
This issue of the Monitor contains seven articles. The article which will be of most interest to Canadian readers presents new estimates of multifactor productivity (MFP) for Canada and the provinces at the industry level. The article, by Andrew Sharpe and Jean-François Arsenault, finds that Newfoundland enjoyed the strongest multifactor productivity growth and Alberta the weakest.
In both provinces, the MFP performance of the mining and oil and gas sector - a 18.8 per cent annual increase versus a 7.4 per cent annual decline - was a determinant factor. A press release is available.
On May 21, 2009, the CSLS released a research report “The Effect of Increasing Aboriginal Educational Attainment on the Labour Force, Output and the Fiscal Balance”. This report examines the potential economic gains of increased Aboriginal education, as well as the fiscal implications of increased education and improved Aboriginal social well-being for Canadian governments to 2026. Most notably, it conludes that if the Aboriginal population were to attain complete economic and social parity with the non-Aboriginal population, Canadian governments would improve their balance sheets by nearly $12 billion in 2026 alone. The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website.
On May 13, 2009, the CSLS released a research report “The Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway: A Situational Analysis of Human Resources Needs”. This report examines human resource and skills issues pertaining to the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor over the short- to medium-term and concludes that despite the economic downturn, there may be shortages of skilled labour in certain occupations. The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website. A French version is also available.
On May 12, 2009, the CSLS released a research report “A Review of the Potential Impacts of the Métis Human Resources Development Agreements in Canada”. The report concludes that the Métis Human Resources Development Agreements result in annual fiscal savings of $8.5 million to the federal and five provincial governments covered by the program, with total lifetime benefits of one year of Métis programming reaching $103 million. The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website. A press release is available for this report.
Sessions organized by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Economics Association
April 24, 2009 -- The CSLS is organizing six sessions to be held at the annual meeting of the Canadian Economics Association at the University of Toronto, May 29-31, 2009. Topics to be covered this year include aboriginals, measuring productivity, the impact of the economic crisis on well-being, business innovation, and measures of economic security in uncertain times.
CSLS Launches the Invitation Seminar Series on Living Standards
April 3, 2009 -- The CSLS is pleased to announce the launch of a new series of seminars on living standards. The first seminar, "Adapting Cost-Benefit Analysis to 21st Century Regulatory Requirements and Democratic Institutions", will be given by David Lewis on Tuesday, April 14. The second seminar, "Productivity and Potential Output Growth to 2015: An International Comparison", will be given by Bart van Ark on Thursday April 23.
Attendance at this event is by invitation only. Subscribers to the CSLS Publication Subscription Program are invited to attend. For more information on this program please visit www.csls.ca/subscription.asp.
CSLS Supports National Campaign for Improving Value for Money in Healthcare
February 26, 2009 -- A key objective of the CSLS is to increase our understanding of public sector productivity, with the objective of improving performance in this area. With the release of the report Value for Money: Making Canadian Healthcare Stronger, the Health Council of Canada has launched a national campaign and debate on improving value for money in the health care sector. Given the close linkages between productivity and value for money, the CSLS strongly supports this campaign.
CSLS Welcomes Two Senior Research Associates
February 2, 2009 -- The CSLS is pleased to welcome Mr. Ian Currie and Dr. David Lewis as senior research associates. Both bring outstanding experience and credentials to support the mission of the CSLS.
An Assessment on the Implications of the 2009 Federal Budget for the Living Standards of Canadians
January 28, 2009 -- The economic downturn is causing the living standards of Canadians to fall. Governments should mitigate the suffering of the economically vulnerable and lay the foundations of recovery with measures to improve productivity. At the same time, equity considerations must be taken into account so that the burden of the recession does not fall unduly on the disadvantaged. The objective of this Research Note is to assess the implications of the 2009 budget for the living standards of Canadians in both the short term and the long term.
CSLS Summer Internship Program
January 13, 2009 -- The CSLS launched the Summer Internship Program 2009. The program offers the opportunity for students and recent graduates to gain full-time practical work experience at the CSLS.
On December 18, 2008, the CSLS released two research reports aimed at getting a better understanding of productivity performance in British Columbia: “Productivity Drivers in British Columbia: Strategic Areas for Improvement” and “Investment in British Columbia: Current Realities and the Way Forward”. The first report provides an overview of productivity drivers in BC. The second report provides a comprehensive analysis of the state of investment in BC and puts forward recommendations to increase investment in the province. These reports are now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website as well as on the website of the British Columbia Progress Board
On December 11, 2008, the Fall 2008 issue of the International Productivity Monitor was released.
This issue of the Monitor contains six articles. The article which will be of most interest to Canadian readers examines the causes of the divergence between real wages and productivity growth in Canada. The article, by Andrew Sharpe, Jean-François Arsenault and Peter Harrison, finds that the divergence between median earnings growth and labour productivity growth can be explained by four factors of roughly equal importance: inconsistent measurement, in particular, the failure to account for important increases in supplementary
labour income; an increase in income inequalities; a decline in labour’s terms of trade expressed as the ratio of output prices to consumer
prices; and a decline in labour’s share of national income. A press release for this article is available in English and French.
On November 10, 2008, the CSLS released a research report “The Valuation of Alberta’s Oil Sands”. The report provides new estimates of the present value of oil sands reserves based on a set of alternative assumptions different from those used by Statistic Canada, which increases the estimated present value of the oil sands to $1,482.7 billion (2007 CAD), 4.3 times larger than the official estimate of $342.1 billion. It also finds that the oil sands impose a total social cost related to GHG emissions of $69.4 billion. The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website.
On November 5, 2008, the CSLS released its first research note, titled “The Canada-U.S. ICT Investment Gap in 2007: Narrowing but Progress Still Needed”. The note provides a brief overview of developments in ICT investment in the business sector for both Canada and the United States. It finds that the size of the Canada-U.S. ICT investment per worker gap has significantly narrowed in the computers ICT component, but has changed little in the communication equipment and software components. The note is now available in the CSLS Research Notes section of the website.
The CSLS recently updated the "Information and Communication Technology" database, the "Canada-US Aggregate Income and Productivity" database and the "Vital Signs" database. The data sources used for the "Labour, Capital and TFP in Canada and the Provinces" database were modified. All CSLS databases can be found in the Data section of the website.
On September 12, 2008, the CSLS released a research report “ICT Investment and Productivity: A Provincial Perspective”. The report presents and reviews a new set of data on ICT investment by province. The level of ICT investment per worker in 2007 was highest in Ontario, second highest in Alberta and lowest in New Brunswick. A decomposition analysis reveals that provincial productivity levels were the most important factor for explaining these provincial disparities. Given the importance of ICT investment for productivity growth, further research is needed to identify the underlying reasons behind provincial disparities in ICT investment intensity. The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website.
On July 16, 2008, the CSLS released a research report “Economic Security in Nova Scotia”. The report uses an aggregate index, based on security from the economic risks imposed by four key factors – unemployment, illness, old age, and single parenthood – to examine trends in economic security in Nova Scotia from 1981 to 2007. It concludes that economic security in Nova Scotia decreased during the 1981-2007 period. The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website.
On June 30, 2008, the CSLS released a research report “Assessing Canada's Ability to Compete for Foreign Direct Investment.”
The authors of the report find that the post-1980 decline in Canada's share of global foreign direct investment reflects the opening of other countries to foreign investment rather than a hostile investment environment in Canada. Although there is no particular factor that can be identified as seriously impeding the flow of foreign direct investment into Canada, the authors identify a number of areas in which Canada can potentially increase its attractiveness as an investment location.
The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website.
On June 25, 2008, the CSLS released a research report “Competitive Intensity as Driver of Innovation and Productivity Growth: A Synthesis of the Literature.”
The report concludes that competition has a positive effect on both innovation and productivity; restrictions on competition should be allowed only when it can be demonstrated that overall societal interests are not served by a competitive marketplace.
The report is now available in the CSLS Research Reports section of the website.
On Feburary 12, 2007, Dr. Andrew Sharpe, CSLS Executive Director, made a presentation entitled “Research Trends and Issues in Canada” at a meeting of the Ontario Research and Innovation Council held in Toronto, Ontario.