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Miles Corak: Economics for public policy

“We don’t have a chance in hell …”, Canada’s poverty reduction strategy needs real voice

Source: https://twitter.com/ESDC_GC/status/1364596131590791171The Minister of Employment and Social Development in the Canadian federal government, Ahmed Hussen, recently tabled an annual report taking stock of the country’s poverty reduction strategy. The advisory council responsible for the reported dedicated it “to all those courageous people who shared their stories, successes and struggles with the Council in the hope that we would in turn share them across Canada. You are at the...

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In pandemic times, the unemployment rate is not what it seems

Interpreting job market statistics demands a lot of care right now. The pandemic has muddied the statistical waters and created the illusion that unemployment rates are significantly higher in Canada than in other countries. The leader of Canada’s official opposition claims the Canadian unemployment rate is higher than in other rich countries. Source: https://twitter.com/erinotoole/status/1367181227338264578?s=20Erin O’Toole, with a sense of indignation and urgency, has boldly proclaimed...

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Employment Insurance for the future of work, right now

This posts offers my written statement for a presentation made on February 23rd to the Canadian House of Commons, Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities as a part of its Review of the Employment Insurance Program. Employment Insurance has been found wanting. It has been found wanting for decades. It was slow to respond to the Great Recession of 2018, and left many Canadians, particularly in central Canada, with...

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An Employment Insurance system for the 21st century: Lesson 2, The future of work calls for better income insurance

The 2020 Speech from the Throne boldly claims that “This pandemic has shown that Canada needs an [Employment Insurance] system for the 21st century, including for the self-employed and those in the gig economy.” That is a tall order, a major overhaul of a complicated program in the span of the next couple of months, with little or virtually no consultation of stakeholders or engagement of experts outside of the government. Will Minister Qualtrough, her cabinet colleagues, and of...

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An Employment Insurance system for the 21st century

The 2020 Speech from the Throne boldly claims that “This pandemic has shown that Canada needs an [Employment Insurance] system for the 21st century, including for the self-employed and those in the gig economy.” That is a tall order, a major overhaul of a complicated program in the span of the next couple of months, with little or virtually no consultation of stakeholders or engagement of experts outside of the government. Will Minister Qualtrough, her cabinet colleagues, and...

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Employment Insurance reform that promotes agency

Benefits for employee initiated time away from work should be delivered through individual accounts, and a new program for maternity and parental benefits should be started outside of Employment Insurance. More than one out of every three dollars distributed through the Employment Insurance program are for so-called Special Benefits, those parts of the program associated with maternity and parental leave, with caregiving, and with sickness. The fact that the COVID19 pandemic...

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Social Policy, Now: Next steps for income support and income insurance in Canada

Three next steps for social policy involve: 1. Maximizing auto-enrollment and just-in-time program delivery; 2. Offering full income support with engagement; and 3. Offering broad income and earnings insurance with agency. In this post I introduce the detailed discussion of these proposals that you can also download. On March 24th, 2020 the Government of Canada Tabled Bill C-13, “An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19,” in the House of Commons, and the next day...

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Inequality from the Child’s Perspective: Social mobility in pandemic times

Watch my presentation about the three ways the disruptions and stresses of the COVID19 pandemic threaten the future prospects of children, the implications they have for the conduct of public policy, and the possibilities for future research. [embedded content] This presentation was offered to the “Inequality by the Numbers” virtual workshop organized by The Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. The workshop includes a...

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The COVID19 pandemic is a threat to social mobility, as children in disadvantaged families will face more challenges in adulthood

The COVID19 pandemic will threaten social mobility. I examine four ways in which this is likely to happen in my presentation to the ZEW Seminar on COVID19 and inequality held on June 19th, 2020. This post summarizes the major messages. Drawing on past research I see four aspects of inequality in the lower part of the income distribution that will be exacerbated and threaten the upward mobility of children raised in challenging circumstances. But I begin by stressing that the United...

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The Canada Emergency Response Benefit, what now? Government policy as the economy re-opens should be rules-based

We have learned from past experience that public policy proceeds through two phases during major crises: first, as one influential economist has said, “whatever it takes”; then, “Oh my God, what have we done!” The Canada Emergency Response Benefit represents the best of whatever-it-takes policy. The speed, the depth, and the sheer uncertainty of the duration and aftermath of the COVID19 crisis called for maximum flexibility in the making of public policy, and full discretion for...

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