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Lagging Behind: Productivity and the Good Fortune of Canadian Provinces

  • Serge Coulombe

    (University of Ottawa)

The good fortune of bountiful natural resources is not enough to ensure rising incomes for Canadians in the long term. Growing labour productivity is the most important determinant of future economic welfare and on that measure, Canada is falling behind its major trading partners. Increasing labour productivity does not mean workers working harder for less money, a common canard. It means more investment in one of three factors: 1) human capital (education or other learning); 2) physical capital (plants or other infrastructure); or 3) technology. Just as an individual’s income is in the long-run dependent on how productive he or she is, so too is that of the nation as a whole. If Canada fails to improve its productivity, the incomes of both individual Canadians and the nation as a whole will fall behind those of other developed countries.

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Article provided by C.D. Howe Institute in its journal C.D. Howe Institute Commentary.

Volume (Year): (2011)
Issue (Month): 331 (June)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:cdh:commen:331
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  1. John Hartwick, 1976. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," Working Papers 220, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Serge Coulombe, 2000. "New Evidence of Convergence Across Canadian Provinces: The Role of Urbanization," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(8), pages 713-725.
  3. Paul Cashin & C. John McCDermott, 2002. "The Long-Run Behavior of Commodity Prices: Small Trends and Big Variability," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(2), pages 2.
  4. Maudos, Joaqui­n & Pastor, José Manuel & Serrano, Lorenzo, 2008. "Explaining the US-EU productivity growth gap: Structural change vs. intra-sectoral effect," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 311-313, August.
  5. Lee, F.C. & Coulombe, S., 1993. "Regional Productivity Convergence in Canada," Working Papers 9318e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  6. Kohli, Ulrich, 2004. "Real GDP, real domestic income, and terms-of-trade changes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 83-106, January.
  7. Svensson, Lars E O, 1986. " On the Intergenerational Allocation of Natural Resources: Comment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 153-55.
  8. Serge Coulombe & Frank C. Lee, 1995. "Convergence across Canadian Provinces, 1961 to 1991," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(4a), pages 886-98, November.
  9. Pritchett, Lant, 2000. "The tyranny of concepts - CUDIE (Cumulated, Depreciated Investment Effort) is NOT capital," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2341, The World Bank.
  10. Maler, Karl-Goran, 1986. " On the Intergenerational Allocation of Natural Resources: Comment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 151-52.
  11. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 2001. "The curse of natural resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 827-838, May.
  12. Leslie Shiell & Colin Busby, 2008. "Greater Saving Required: Ahow Alberta Can Achieve Fiscal Sustainability from its Resource Revenues," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 263, May.
  13. Solow, Robert M, 1986. " On the Intergenerational Allocation of Natural Resources," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 141-49.
  14. Serge Coulombe & Jean-François Tremblay, 2007. "Skills, Education, And Canadian Provincial Disparity," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(5), pages 965-991.
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