CEO pay: when they deserve it and when they don’t 

CEO pay has increased over the last decade but the increase is perfectly related to the value of their skills

CEO pay: when they deserve it and when they don’t In debates about inequality, some people – including some economists – claim the salaries and compensation of chief executive officers aren’t linked to performance. Essentially, they don’t really earn their money. This claim, repeated ad nauseam in recent years, is misleading to say the least. As noted in my recent study published by the Fraser…

Overstated poverty claims paint false picture

Using multiple sources of data can bring circumstances into sharper focus. That will allow us to concentrate on helping only those people who are truly in need

Overstated poverty claims paint false pictureClaims of rising inequality are rampant in the media, mainly because many pundits confuse inequality with poverty and assume that the poor are enjoying lower living standards than before. But there’s no reason to expect poverty to move in the same direction as inequality – incomes rising at an uneven pace will reduce problems of…

Barriers to competition hurt Canadians

Government-erected barriers mean firms have few incentives to improve efficiency, cut costs and satisfy consumers

Barriers to competition hurt CanadiansEconomists love competition. They tell students how competition between firms leads to lower prices and greater quality. Beyond the classroom, few dispute the benefits of competition. So why are so many Canadians unaware that governments across Canada shield close to one-third of the economy from competition? When economists speak of competition, they don’t refer only…

Budget deficits can increase social inequality

The burden of the debt financing falls on the whole population, and low-income Canadians can least afford to contribute

Budget deficits can increase social inequalityThere’s been much talk about the federal government’s attempts to enact redistributive policies to reduce income inequality in Canada. But the way these measures are funded could increase inequality. One think-tank in Quebec surveyed a panel of 70 policy experts who noted that the latest federal budget would, on the whole, reduce inequality. I contributed…

Broader store hours ultimately benefit consumers

In Quebec, the debate rages again – even though the case for deregulation is overwhelming, according to economists

Broader store hours ultimately benefit consumersEvery few years, Quebec discusses store opening hours in the province. There are ebbs and flows to the discussion and we now seem to be at a flow point. The discussion pits smaller stores that want shorter hours versus larger stores that want fewer restrictions on opening hours. Rarely are consumers and workers brought into…

SNC-Lavalin reminds us that big government invites big scandals

If we want fewer scandals, we must scale back government to limit the temptation to indulge in scandalous behaviour

SNC-Lavalin reminds us that big government invites big scandalsThe SNC-Lavalin scandal, which continues to dominate headlines across Canada, has many moving parts. It’s hard to disentangle everything so as to assign blame. But the situation provides an important lesson that seemingly many have forgot: big government invites big scandals. Political power can be misused for personal gain. It can be wielded in ways…

Why government meddling can increase air pollution

We need a more modest, but more efficient, set of environmental policies that involve doing less, not more

Why government meddling can increase air pollutionWhen economists speak about climate change risk, they use a lens of externalities – when exchanges between two parties have consequences that spill over onto third parties. These externalities are labelled ‘negative’ when these spillovers hurt third parties. Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from economic activity constitute a negative externality, as producers and consumers in any…

Closing the gap on global inequality by every measure

From income to health to education, the metrics show improving conditions around the world

Closing the gap on global inequality by every measureAccording to recent news reports, economic inequality is on the rise. Since inequality is the gloomy backdrop for many policy discussions, it’s unsurprising that many people in the world’s wealthiest countries worry about the issue. However, very few are aware that this increase in inequality (the magnitude and causes of which are hotly debated) is…

Provinces, municipalities key to avoiding housing bubble

Zoning, building codes and construction trade regulations all fall under the jurisdiction of these governments

Provinces, municipalities key to avoiding housing bubbleRecently, the Bank of Canada voiced concerns about the Canadian economy, leading it to slash outlooks on future trends. One of the issues contributing to this pessimistic stance is the condition of housing markets in Canada. Housing construction activity and prices are falling after a long period of price increases that fuelled claims of a…

The folly of embracing universal daycare

Quebec’s experience with government-subsidized daycare should serve as a warning for B.C.

The folly of embracing universal daycareThe recent British Columbia provincial budget makes it clear that the government is forging ahead with plans to pursue universal government-subsidized daycare. But B.C. is not the first to go down this path and there are lessons to be learned. While the 2018 budget didn’t explicitly call for $10-a-daycare – a key plank in the NDP’s…