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 and social well-being through research.
Announcements & Recent Releases
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 two review articles, one on an OECD report entitled The Future of Productivity and one on a McKinsey Global Institute Report entitled Global Growth: Can Productivity Save the Day in an Aging World? 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
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:
Dr. Paul Davenport
Professor Richard G. Harris
Professor Morley Gunderson
Professor Keith Banting
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.