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 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 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:
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
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.
On March 30, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a new study commissioned by The Conference Board of Canada entitled "Inclusive Growth: A New Approach to Economic Evaluation of Health Policy". The CSLS has also released an extended version of the report entitled "Measuring the Appropriate Outcomes for Better Decision-Making: A Framework to Guide the Analysis of Health Policy". Many economic evaluations of health policy struggle to include the monetary and non-monetary benefits of health and issues of inequality into a single metric. This study discusses how a new “inclusive growth” approach developed by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development can be applied to overcome this challenge when evaluating health policy. The methodology is applied to perform a decomposition of the contribution of reductions in mortality from specific causes of death to growth in the Canadian standard of living between 2000 and 2011. Based on an inclusive growth index of living standards, rising life expectancy was responsible for 40 per cent of growth in living standards over the period, while growth in income accounted for about 60 per cent. More specifically, 25 per cent of growth in the inclusive growth index of living standards was due to reduced mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and 10 per cent was due to reduced mortality rates from cancer. A press release is available here.
On March 17, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled "A New Role for Cost-Benefit Analysis in Canadian Transportation Infrastructure Investment" by David Lewis and Ian Currie. The report addresses a two-part problem for the federal government in the choice of infrastructure investments over the next decade: one is the need to select projects and plans that go beyond shovel-readiness and short term job creation and contribute to long-term net economic efficiency and societal gains; the second is the need to reconcile the competing claims of multiple stakeholder groups so that infrastructure investment decisions can be both good and expeditious. A press release is available here.
On March 7, 2016, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a report entitled "Explaining Industry Differences in IT Investment Per Worker Between Canada and the United States, 2002-2013" by Jasmin Thomas. In the past, attention has been focused on the aggregate ICT investment per worker gap, but 49.8 per cent of lower business sector IT investment per worker in Canada relative to the United States in 2013 was explained by two industries: information and cultural industries and professional, scientific and technical services. The main objective of this report is to shed light on the possible reasons for the gap in these sectors, including data measurement and comparability issues stemming from methodological differences between statistical agencies in Canada and the United States, and differences in potential explanatory variables of IT investment, such as human capital, taxation, profits, firm creation rates, industrial structure, and regulation, among others.