Welcome to the Centre for the Study of Living Standards
Contact Information 151 Slater Street, Suite 710
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H3
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards is a non-profit, national, independent organization that seeks to contribute to a better understanding of trends in and determinants of productivity, living standards and economic well-being through research.
Announcements & Recent Releases
On November 14, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released a special issue of its flagship publication, the International Productivity Monitor, guest edited by Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University and founder of the World KLEMS Initiative. The issue is based on selected papers from the Fourth World KLEMS Conference held in Madrid in May 2016. The issue contains nine articles featuring the most recent research on productivity trends throughout the world. Topics addressed include: a comparison of productivity growth in China and India, the implications of the move to ICT services for the impact of ICT technologies on productivity, new estimates of human capital for the United States, productivity developments in Latin America, and sectoral developments in productivity performance in EU countries. The key findings of the articles are highlighted in the introduction by Dale Jorgenson.
On November 7, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, in collaboration with the Productivity Partnerships, issued a call for papers for the conference “Explaining Canada’s Post-2000 Productivity Performance” to be held in association with the annual meeting of the Canadian Economics Association, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec June 1-3, 2018. Details on the motivation for the conference, the issues on which papers are sought, and the submission procedures are found in the call for papers. The deadline for proposals is February 2, 2018.
On October 2, 2017 the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released a report entitled "The Contribution of Aboriginal People to Future Labour Force Growth in Canada" by Don Drummond, Alexander Murray, Nicolas Mask and Andrew Sharpe. The report contributes to the debate on closing socio-economic gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by projecting the contribution of Aboriginal people to future labour force growth in Canada as a whole and by region under various scenarios over the 2011-2036 period. It finds that up to one fifth of future labour force growth in this country may come from the Aboriginal population.
A press release and an op-ed by Don Drummond and Andrew Sharpe are available for this report.
Articles from the Globe and Mail and the Winnipeg Free Press are also available for this report.
On August 31, 2017, the CSLS released a report entitled "The Human Development Index in Canada: Ranking the Provinces and Territories Internationally, 2000-2015: An Update." This report provides internationally comparable estimates of the Human Development Index (HDI) for the Canadian provinces and territories from 2000 to 2015. The report explores a wide variation in the quality of life enjoyed by Canadians. It shows that while residents of Alberta and Ontario enjoy a quality of life similar to that of Singapore or Denmark, residents of Nunavut face a quality of life similar to that of Latvia or Argentina. A press release is available for this report.
On August 30, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “What Explains the Post-2004 U.S. Productivity Slowdown.” The average annual rate of U.S. business sector labour productivity growth declined by 1.9 percentage points between the 1995-2004 period and the 2004-2015 period, from 3.2 per cent to 1.3 per cent. This report summarizes the state of knowledge on the causes of this development. Two thirds of the slowdown is accounted for by a decline in total factor productivity growth, while one third by a decline in the rate of capital deepening (i.e. growth of capital per hour worked). Three industries, collectively representing 28 per cent of business-sector hours worked in 2015, account for over 80 per cent of the aggregate labour productivity decline: manufacturing, wholesale trade, and retail trade.
On July 18, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled “The Inclusion of Natural Resource Wealth in
the Index of Economic Well-Being: Results for OECD Countries, 1980-2013” The objective of the report is to present augmented estimates of the Index of Economic Well-being (IEWB) for 14 OECD countries for the 1980-2013 period. The new estimates account for the inclusion of an
internationally comparable measure of natural resource wealth which had been absent from
previous IEWB reports. It finds that in 2013 Norway had the highest level of economic wellbeing
and Spain the lowest. Despite being a resource rich country, Canada ranked eleventh among the fourteen countries for economic well-being.
On July 13, 2017 the CSLS released a study done for Global Affairs Canada entitled “The Effect of Import Competition on Employment in Canada: Evidence from the China Shock.” The federal government has called for a “progressive trade agenda” for Canada, an agenda which responses to the concerns of those harmed by the liberalization of international trade and ensures that trade contributes to broad-based prosperity for all Canadians. The objective of the report is to contribute to the development of such an agenda by measuring the impact on Canadian employment of a recent shock to Canada’s import supply. The report finds that the direct effect of rising Chinese import competition on Canadian manufacturing was a net loss of 105 thousand jobs over the 2001-2011 period, equivalent to 21 per cent of the actual observed decline in manufacturing employment. A press release is available for this issue.
An article of this report is part of the Trade Policy for Uncertain Times special feature of Policy Options magazine.
This report was mentioned in articles from The Globe and Mail, iPOLITICS and The Epoch Times.
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:
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)
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.
Past CSLS Announcements and Releases