IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Economics of Subsidies in Ontario’s Automotive Industry


  • Leslie Shiell

    () (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa)

  • Justin Stuart

    (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa)


We compare the choice between granting subsidies to the automotive industry and using the funds instead to implement a permanent reduction in the sales tax on capital goods, one of Ontario’s most distortionary taxes. Our results depend critically upon how workers respond to the withdrawal of subsidies. Either workers agree to reduce their wages to offset the lost subsidies or they refuse to adjust. Our cost-benefit analysis shows the best outcome for the economy is to eliminate the subsidies, have workers adjust, and reduce the deadweight loss of taxation. The second-best outcome is to subsidize, maintain high wage levels in the industry, but forgo the benefits of tax reform. The worst outcome would be to withdraw subsidies, have workers refuse to adjust, and then experience lost employment and production. In contrast, the best outcome for the affected workers is to maintain high wages through subsidies. Therefore workers have an incentive to act strategically, by refusing to adjust their wages. For this reason, the government’s openness to subsidies likely contributes to an environment in which subsidies become inevitable.

Suggested Citation

  • Leslie Shiell & Justin Stuart, 2008. "The Economics of Subsidies in Ontario’s Automotive Industry," Working Papers 0812E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:0812e

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    subsidies; Ontario; automotive sector;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:0812e. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Diane Ritchot). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.