Publications

How to Successfully Reduce the Regulatory Burden

In its last Fall Economic Statement, the federal government included a chapter on regulation. It intends to review and remove outdated or duplicative regulatory requirements, keep an eye on our regulatory burden’s effect on our competitiveness, and innovate when it comes to rule-making. While this is a welcome admission that the Canadian regulatory burden is weighing down our competitiveness, with the United States as an easy alternative destination for investment, it still leaves open the question of how exactly to proceed with effectively reducing the regulatory burden.

18 Essential Classical Liberal Thinkers

This booklet contains short write-ups on the lives and ideas of eighteen classical liberal thinkers from the past century and a half. Together, these short biographical essays tell the story of the evolution of classical liberal thought as the benefits of freedom have spread, though haltingly and unevenly, around the world. And they point the way forward to a future of greater and more widespread wealth and well-being for all.

GHG Reductions: Ambitious Targets for an Insignificant Impact

The Quebec government has on many occasions signalled its commitment to fighting climate change. The province has set several targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, aiming to have them disappear almost completely by 2050. Yet Quebec’s share of global GHG emissions is so tiny that achieving the provincial objectives would have an insignificant impact on the evolution of the temperature of the planet.

Christmas Costs Less Than It Used To

With Christmas around the corner, stories about consumption and purchasing power tend to make headlines. Often, we’re told that “everything is more expensive” or that “our purchasing power is stagnating.” What are the facts of the matter?

Taxing Sugar Will Not Halt the Rise in Obesity

Earlier this year, the Quebec government formed a committee whose stated goal was to propose a soda tax, for the purpose of reducing the prevalence of obesity. Yet there are numerous reasons to question the effectiveness of this measure. Indeed, when a tax modifies the price of a good, there is no guarantee that the replacement product will be better for one’s health than the taxed product.

The Minimum Wage: Ontario Was Right to Cancel the Hike to $15

Many politicians and interest groups advocate a rapid increase in the minimum wage in the name of social justice. Yet this ignores the results of past experiments. Ontario’s new Minister of Labour, Laurie Scott, pushed back by cancelling the increase to $15 planned for January 2019, and by stating that the minimum wage should be determined “by economics, not politics.” Subsequent increases will be set based on the annual change in the cost of living. This is a reasonable compromise, which will avoid further harming workers at the bottom of the ladder, and more specifically the young.

The Miracle of Supermarkets – The Perspective of the Austrian School of Economics

Although we take supermarkets for granted, our access to such a quantity and variety of food products on demand and at any time of year is absolutely remarkable. This “miracle” is all the more impressive given that it is the result of spontaneous and voluntary collaboration between millions of people, most of whom will never meet. This paper will examine the historical evolution and the current operation of supermarkets and the numerous intermediaries that supply them, using the analytical framework of the Austrian School of Economics.

The First Entrepreneurs – Natural Resource Development and First Nations

The media often convey the impression that First Nations wish to earn a living from traditional activities alone and have little interest in the development of their communities. Yet while some oppose mining and forestry or the building of energy infrastructure, others favour such development and wish to take advantage of the resulting wealth and jobs. This paper focuses on cases where First Nations decided to become involved in the development of resources on their territory, and on the benefits they derived from this involvement.

What Are the Benefits of Economic Freedom?

A useful and intuitive definition of “economic freedom” is the freedom (absence of coercion) to buy from, or sell to, a willing counterparty. A society based on economic freedom is a free-market society. But is economic freedom economically beneficial? Is it all about money? Is it moral? Aren’t there many exceptions where government intervention is warranted? This Economic Note addresses these questions.

Restoring Canadian Competitiveness by Reducing Corporate Taxes

As the fall economic update approaches, the rumour is that Ottawa favours targeted measures to promote investment, rather than reducing the corporate income tax rate. This would be a mistake. The competitiveness of Canadian companies has been hurt by US tax cuts, and also by deregulation efforts south of the border. The federal government should use its update to lower corporate income taxes and restore the Canadian advantage; not acting would entail substantial costs not just for businesses, but for workers as well.

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