The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Report on Business

Economy Lab

Delving into the forces that shape our living standards
Best Business Blog, EPPY awards, 2011 and 2012

Entry archive:

Economy Lab has moved

Only Globe Unlimited members will now have access to a wide range of insightful commentary
and analysis on the economy and markets previously offered on this page.

Globe Unlimited subscribers will be able to read these columns,
written by some of Canada’s most deeply respected economists,
such as Christopher Ragan, Sheryl King, Andrew Jackson, and Clement Gignac,
as part of our ROB INSIGHT section.

All of our readers will still be able to browse the Economy Lab archives and read our
broader coverage of economic data and news by accessing their 10 free articles a month.

Learn more about Globe Unlimited and how to subscribe.

If I had $100-billion ... How to restore Ottawa’s fiscal health


Many of us know the catchy tune by the Canadian band The Barenaked Ladies, If I Had A Million Dollars, but how about multiplying it by 100,000 times? Each year, approximately $100-billion leaks out of the federal government’s revenue-gathering system, more or less unseen by the public. As the song says, that amount of money would buy a lot of Kraft Dinner.

More »

Canada’s labour data fail to shine proper light on self-employed


Assuming the figures are still valid as you read this, Statistics Canada’s August 2014 Labour Force Survey (LFS) release finally drew attention to Canada’s increasingly DIY labour market.

It took no less than a record monthly self-employment bump of 86,900 to do so – nearly 1.5 times the previous (post-1976) record of 62,000 (revised up from 56,000) that was reported in the May, 2007, release. Which is unfortunate, since self-employment has had a far greater impact on the Canadian labour market in recent years than the headline figures suggest.

More »

Why textbooks are so expensive


Classes started last week at many Canadian colleges and universities, and thousands of first-year students were probably shocked to see such high textbook prices. Why does a 500-page textbook in economics or cell biology or calculus cost $150, and sometimes much higher, while similarly sized “trade” books cost only $40 or less?

More »

Government debt-financed investment is the best path to robust growth


The gloomy view that the global economy faces a prolonged period of slow growth and high unemployment holds increasing sway among mainstream economists. A new e-book from the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), Secular Stagnation: Facts, Causes, Cures, edited by Coen Teulings and Richard Baldwin, includes interesting contributions from such luminaries as Paul Krugman, former U.S. Treasury secretary Larry Summers and International Monetary Fund chief economist Olivier Blanchard.

More »

The case for spending on Central Canada’s infrastructure


Quebec’s Philippe Couillard and Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne are forging an interesting alliance in Central Canada, one that represents the country’s largest economic region and a population of over 20 million.

Both premiers are joining their voices in tackling the issue of the federal government’s share of infrastructure funding. In short, they claim that around 5 per cent of gross domestic product should be invested annually to build and maintain proper public infrastructure and, consequently, that Ottawa should increase its investments to 2 per cent of GDP, thus keeping it stable and predictable.

More »

How Atlantic Canada can raise its game


Atlantic Canada was a founding partner of the Canadian dream nearly 150 years ago. However, as Canada’s economic centre of gravity shifts ever westward, the Atlantic region’s economy risks becoming further diminished. The area’s recent economic performance has been very uneven. With the premiers meeting in Prince Edward Island this week on the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown conference, the question to be posed is: What can Atlantic Canada do to raise its game?

More »

Quebec-Ontario electricity trade is smart, but not simple

Christopher Ragan

Last week, Quebec’s and Ontario’s premiers announced their desire to work together on crucial issues, including climate change, interprovincial trade and infrastructure. It is very positive for Canada when our two largest provinces recognize the benefits of co-operation. We should certainly hope they succeed, but let’s also be mindful of the obstacles in their way.

More »