Economic Note that draws a portrait of the supply and demand for private health care services in Quebec
Quebec is one of the provinces in which private medicine has developed rapidly in recent years. This trend coincides with a large number of Quebecers being unable to find a family doctor and with lengthening wait times both for undergoing treatment after a diagnosis and for being seen by a doctor in a hospital emergency room. How many private clinics are there, and how many doctors have left the public system in Quebec? Why do patients resort to private medicine?
Economic Note on the free-market policies that explain Hong Kong's meteoric economic development
Hong Kong today is a doorway to China and the rest of Asia for foreign investors, and one of the wealthiest societies in the world. Its gross domestic product per capita is even higher than Britain's. And yet, after the Second World War, this minuscule territory of the British Empire, devoid of natural resources, was faced with the problems of a developing country, with a rapidly expanding poor population. In 1960, the average income per capita was still just 28% of what residents of the far-off mother country earned at the time.
Economic Note describing the impact of staffing services on the flexibility of the labour market
Many workers, particularly the young and immigrants, have a hard time finding a job, especially a full-time job. At the same time, many companies in various sectors struggle to fill certain positions. This seemingly paradoxical situation stems from the difficulty of achieving a perfect match between job seekers and available jobs. What is called the flexibility of the labour market represents an excellent solution to this problem, for both employees and employers.
Research Paper analysing the new financing mechanisms in the field of development assistance
International aid only has a limited impact on the fight against poverty, as opposed to trade and entrepreneurial capitalism. Meanwhile, international bureaucrats are still busy crafting new taxes for development assistance. In 2000, the United Nations Development Programme started talking about Innovative Financing for Development (IFD), a complex set of spending projects and organizations in the field of development assistance that are to be funded mostly by new taxes.
Analysis of the federal debt situation in the United States
Since the adoption of a law to that effect in 1917, the debt of the American federal government is subject to a “ceiling.” Barring an agreement from Congress, the current ceiling should be reached during the month of October. This is a structural problem, not a cyclical one. Even if we managed to balance revenue and spending and eliminate budget deficits, it would not spell the end of the basic imbalance in American government finances, which is due to the ever-growing financial obligations stemming from social programs.
Economic Note on the necessary balance between the protection of privacy on the Internet and the maintenance of a climate favourable to investment, innovation and job creation
With the explosive growth of the Internet and Canadians' expanding use of it, questions about privacy protection are increasingly taking centre stage in public debates. It is essential, though, to distinguish between the protection we might hope for from the organs of government and the regulations that apply to private companies with which we transact freely for products and services of our choosing. Even if protecting personal information is an issue in both cases, the dynamic is not the same. It is the latter subject that concerns us in this Economic Note.
Economic Note exposing the need for a stable petroleum supply for Quebec's petrochemical industry
Filling up at the gas station represents only 43% of the oil we use. In fact, hydrocarbon by-products are all around us and shape our daily lives: telephones, ballpoint pens, clothing made from synthetic fibres, toothpaste... The city's petrochemical sector, which provides 3,600 quality jobs, is heavily reliant on a steady supply of affordable hydrocarbons. This is exactly what the Western provinces have to offer.
Economic Note evaluating the implicit subsidies to wind power, biomass and community power plants
Invoking “obvious economic reasons,” i.e., annual savings of $24 million, the Quebec government cancelled six small hydroelectric power projects this past February. In April, however, it announced new supply contracts for wind power, a sector that is already guaranteed to receive an implicit subsidy of $695 million a year until 2020. For Youri Chassin, economist at the MEI and the author of this Economic Note, we have an urgent need for rational decisions based on our actual energy requirements and not on artificial support of various energy sectors.
Research paper showing the adverse effects of policies aiming to reduce public expenses on prescription drugs
The obsession with reducing public spending on prescription drugs, which takes the form of constantly falling price caps, bulk purchasing strategies and reimbursement restrictions, entails numerous unintended consequences, especially for the health of Canadians. These are the findings of a new study from the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI).
Media release :: Government monopoly would reduce the quality of prescription drug coverage
Research Paper proposing a global and non-coercive approach to fighting obesity
In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of groups that, in the name of public health, seek greater government supervision over our daily lives. This can take the form of taxes or regulations, as the case may be. When it comes to the phenomenon of obesity, the Research Paper by Dr. David Gratzer, in collaboration with Jasmin Guénette, suggests a positive approach that takes account of the complexity of the problem rather than turning to a tax on specific products, a route that has failed to deliver the hoped-for results, as explained in a previous MEI Economic Note.
Economic Note describing energy production and consumption in Quebec
Questions about energy are currently in the news on an almost daily basis in the province of Quebec. In addition, the Quebec government intends to adopt a new law on hydrocarbons in the near future, and next year, a new energy policy. In order to be able to discuss these topics seriously, it is useful to have a global picture of Quebec's energy reality. This Economic Note therefore provides a general overview of Quebec's energy consumption and production. It also highlights some of the energy challenges that the province will face in the years to come.
Economic Note showing the absence of correlation between the governing party's ideology and the evolution of public spending as a share of GDP
Public policy debates are often coloured by ideological preconceptions. For example, we expect political parties on "the left" to have a tendency to increase public spending when they are in power, and parties on "the right" to have a tendency to reduce it. This perception clearly stems from official statements that emphasize different goals. But what is the reality?
Publication estimating at 1.3 billion dollars the additional debt service costs incurred by the Quebec government in the case of a 2% increase in interest rates.
Quebec benefits from unusually low interest rates in financing its debt, making this heavy burden manageable, at least for the time being. But what will happen when borrowing costs rise? Lenka Martinek, chief strategist of Daily Insights at BCA Research estimates that a 2% increase in interest rates would require $1.3 billion in additional spending on debt service in 2018. And this scenario does not take account of a potential recession.
Economic Note that estimates the decline in sales of books following the introduction of a fixed price
Will we succeed in stopping the decline of small bookstores by limiting the discounts offered to Quebec readers by big stores? What consequences would such a policy entail? We can glean some answers to these questions from both the history of the book and the economic literature. Examples of fixed book price laws elsewhere in the world also allow us to draw precious lessons in order to avoid repeating the errors of the past.
Economic Note analyzing the economic and social catch up in Quebec during the "Great Darkness"
In Quebec history books, the period from 1945 to 1960 has been labelled the "Great Darkness" on account of the province's alleged backwardness compared with its North American neighbours. Quebec society at the time is commonly thought to have been less economically dynamic and prosperous, less culturally and socially enlightened, influenced by an obscurantist Church, dominated by anglophone capital, and governed by corrupt, authoritarian political elites. Many of these claims do not hold up under a closer examination of the statistics of the era, however.
In this enlightening documentary, Mr. Jasmin Guénette, Vice President of the MEI, went out into the field to interview those who make their living from the forestry industry to see the true state of our forests and measure the impact of tree cutting on biodiversity.
Watch the documentary...