Viewpoint describing how everyone will benefit from ride-sharing applications
Ride-sharing applications like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are currently revolutionizing the urban transportation industry. By allowing taxi drivers to find clients more rapidly, and other individuals to offer transportation services more easily, these technologies could lead to considerable improvements for customers. Sensible economic policy should avoid hindering their adoption by consumers while compensating those who are negatively affected by obsolete government regulations from the past.
Viewpoint that sketches a picture of payroll taxes in order to better grasp their impact on workers' remuneration
Of all the components of taxation in Quebec, payroll taxes are without a doubt the least well-known among the general public. While employees may indeed notice a discrepancy between what they receive and what their employers pay out, it is difficult to fully understand the reasons for this. Nor do employees know the magnitude of the sums that their employers must pay to the taxman in addition to the salaries they are paid. This Viewpoint aims to clarify the issue of payroll taxes in order to better grasp their impact on the remuneration of workers.
Trilingual booklet featuring the transcript of a talk delivered on October 16, 2013 in Montreal by Mario Vargas Llosa
This 85-page trilingual booklet features the transcript of a talk delivered on October 16, 2013 in Montreal by Peruvian Nobel Laureate in Literature Mario Vargas Llosa on the occasion of a conference organized by the Montreal Economic Institute. In this talk, Mr. Vargas Llosa explains why, in his youth, he believed in communism, like many intellectuals of his generation, and also how, through his disillusionment and his questioning, he discovered another vision, one of liberty, tolerance and democracy.
Economic Note explaining how private non-profit hospitals are contributing positively to European health care systems
Few topics of public debate elicit more emotion in people than the role of the private sector in health care. It is often argued that profit has no place in this sector, especially when it comes to hospital care. Some people think that the profit motive would encourage "the cutting of corners," that profit would add to the cost of providing a service, or that for-profit medical facilities would avoid the more complex cases or those perceived to be "less profitable." Are these beliefs justified?
Economic Note proposing solutions in the debate on municipal pension plans
The pension plans of municipal employees across the province of Quebec face deficits totalling $3.9 billion. For certain municipalities, pension plan contributions have exploded over the past few years. The Quebec government recently introduced a bill whose purpose is to ensure the sustainability of these plans, but that does not call into question their underlying principles.
Viewpoint explaining that the state of competition in the Canadian wireless sector does not justify more interventionist measures
There are several myths going around regarding the state of competition in the Canadian wireless sector. According to critics, the lack of competition compared to other industrialized countries means that Canadians are among those who pay the most for their services ‒ services, moreover, that are of poor quality. The MEI recently delved into this subject in some detail. As a new round of CRTC hearings begins, during which wholesale roaming fees will be debated, we are revisiting the matter briefly in order to contribute to a more balanced debate.
Economic Note explaining the respective contribution of the public and private sectors in the development of new drugs
The discovery and marketing of countless therapeutic drugs and vaccines over the past century has undeniably helped to revolutionize the field of health care. Despite the scope of this progress and the benefits that have flowed from it, the pharmaceutical sector continues to be the target of numerous criticisms. How are innovative drugs discovered and developed? What do the public sector and the private sector each contribute to the process? The purpose of this Economic Note is to shed some light on these questions.
Economic Note explaining the impact of logging on the future of our forests and the survival of the woodland caribou
Environmental groups claim that logging is jeopardizing the future of our forests as well as the survival of the species that live in them. Is this an accurate picture of the reality of forestry in Quebec? The aggregate data do not show that our forests are in decline. On the contrary, forest cover has increased slightly between the first forest inventory in 1979 and the most recent one in 2002.
Economic Note describing some of the most important contributions of pharmaceutical research to the betterment of health conditions over the past century
Never before in the history of humanity has there been as rapid an increase in longevity as there was during the 20th century. In industrialized countries, life expectancy at birth has risen from an average of about 50 years in 1900 to a little over 80 years today. A growing number of people can now live not only longer but also healthier than ever before. Indeed, substantial gains in terms of quality-adjusted life expectancy have been recorded for decades in many countries.
Viewpoint explaining how the Quebec government could have recorded a $15-billion surplus by controlling its spending
Eleven years ago, a government was elected in Quebec by promising to re-examine the functioning of the state and diminish the tax burden of individual Quebecers. However, between the fiscal years 2003-2004 and 2013-2014, the size of the provincial government continued to grow relative to the economy. Indeed, during this period, the Quebec economy grew by 39.6% while public spending increased by 66.9% and revenue by 65.6%. What would have happened if the growth of public spending had been limited to the same rate as economic growth during these ten years?
Economic Note exploring the legal and regulatory modifications required to clarify Bitcoin's status
In order for Bitcoin to develop and grow, its legal status will have to be clarified. As it happens, this digital currency is attracting more and more attention from governments around the world. Several of them are currently studying the phenomenon in order to better understand it and find ways of regulating its use. This Economic Note presents an analysis of the situation in Canada and in other countries that have adopted regulatory frameworks for Bitcoin.
Economic Note analysing Canada's subsidy programs to the oil industry
Many activist groups, and even certain political actors, maintain that the Canadian oil industry is heavily subsidized. The Montreal Economic Institute looked into the matter and carried out a rigorous examination of the studies on which this notion is based. In this Economic Note, the MEI concludes that the subsidies in question are far from being as generous as these studies claim, and moreover that the largest of the subsidy programs will disappear between now and January 1st, 2016.
Research Paper analyzing various aspects of the Canadian telecommunications industry related to competition
To the detriment of consumers across the country, the federal government has been encouraging artificial competition in the telecommunications industry for the past seven years. Fixated on the goal of promoting the emergence of a fourth wireless carrier in each of Canada's regional markets, the government has lost sight of the ultimate goal of promoting the development of a dynamic, efficient industry, according to this Research Paper.
Viewpoint explaining why taxes, fees and charges increase the prices of airfares and make Canadian airports less competitive in relation to American airports
Because 75% of Canada's population lives only 90 minutes from the U. S. border, many regional Canadian airports are in direct competition with their northern American counterparts. This geographical proximity means that airfare prices have become one of the biggest competitive advantages of airports in the quest to attract more passengers. This Viewpoint explains why taxes, fees and charges increase the prices of airfares and make Canadian airports less competitive in relation to American airports.
Research Paper proposing six concrete ideas for reforming Quebec's health care system that are inspired by the experience of OECD countries
There are some especially important lessons to be drawn from the experiences of Germany, England, Denmark, France and Italy, all countries whose health care systems are based on the principle of universal care. In this publication, the MEI is proposing six concrete ideas for reforming Quebec's health care system that are inspired by the experience of these countries. These reform proposals, which are all interrelated, would likely lead to substantial improvements both to the quality of care provided to patients and to their access to that care.
Booklet on Canada’s energy sector
This booklet proposes 40 basic questions people might have about Canada's energy sector and gives them answers which are relatively short, factual, easy to understand, and supported by official sources. They cover as many subjects as possible, in addition to offering information on the energy situation of the various parts of the country.
Economic Note analysing proposals to expand Canadian public pension plans
Do Canadians save enough for retirement? What is the government's responsibility in the matter? All across Canada, these questions have taken centre stage over the past year. Several major public plan reform proposals are being discussed. They all begin with the same observation, that people are not saving enough for retirement, and they all propose similar solutions based on mandatory saving. This Economic Note asks if the diagnosis is correct, and if the proposed solutions are adequate.
Overview of the size of the Quebec government's debt on 2014-2015 Budget Day
Over the last five years, the MEI has published an annual Viewpoint on Quebec government debt on budget day. Continuing the tradition, this Viewpoint also explores what has been accomplished up to now to reduce the deficit and return ultimately to balanced budgets. What happened to cause this target to be missed? Which commitments were respected, and which ones were not? Was it revenue that failed to rise enough, or was it spending that grew more quickly than expected?
Economic Note explaining how taxes on products deemed harmful do not necessarily have the desired effects
"Sin taxes," as they are known, are taxes that are levied on a certain number of products that governments consider harmful like alcohol, tobacco, gambling and certain foods that are high in sugar or fat. In 2012, the average Canadian family paid 5.3% of its total contributions to government in the form of taxes on alcohol, tobacco, entertainment and other excise taxes.
Economic Note offering an overview of the Bitcoin phenomenon and the issues that it raises
Bitcoin digital currency has attracted the regular attention of the financial press for the past several months. Its price fluctuates enormously, influenced by new innovative developments but also by positive or negative decisions by governments and central banks concerning its use. Is the Bitcoin system here to stay and become an integral part of our economic lives? Whatever the outcome of this particular experiment, the innovations made possible by new information technology have the potential to revolutionize monetary and financial matters.
Waiting lists are a persistent problem in the health care systems of Quebec and Canada, contributing to the deterioration of patient health and quality of life. As part of its health care research program, the Vice President of the MEI, Mr. Jasmin Guénette, met with patients and medical professionals in order to better understand the harmful effects of waiting lists.
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