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Closing the 49th Parallel: An Unexplored Episode in Canadian Economic and Political History



We draw attention to, and begin to consider the implications of the severe restrictions on emigration by Canadians to the United States introduced under the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965. These restrictions came into effect in 1968 and lasted until mobility began to increase under the free trade agreements in the early 1990's. This is an unusual episode in Canadian history, one whose implications for public policy have received little attention. The near closing of the border during this period likely led to a decrease in the elasticity of labour supply in Canada. We derive the implications of such a change in a competitive political model where the political costs and benefits of levying taxes on different activities are distinguished. Increased reliance on, and changes in the structure of, labour income taxes, and an increase in the size of the public sector are predicted. We show that these predictions are consistent with what occurred over the two decades after the near closing of the U.S. border.

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  • James B. Davies & Stanley L. Winer, 2008. "Closing the 49th Parallel: An Unexplored Episode in Canadian Economic and Political History," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20083, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwo:epuwoc:20083

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David E. Wildasin, 2003. "Fiscal Policy, Human Capital, and Canada-US Labor Market Integration," Public Economics 0309006, EconWPA.
    2. J. Ferris & Soo-Bin Park & Stanley Winer, 2008. "Studying the role of political competition in the evolution of government size over long horizons," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 369-401, October.
    3. Stanley Winer & Michael Tofias & Bernard Grofman & John Aldrich, 2008. "Trending economic factors and the structure of Congress in the growth of government, 1930–2002," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 415-448, June.
    4. MacKinnon, James G, 1996. "Numerical Distribution Functions for Unit Root and Cointegration Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 601-618, Nov.-Dec..
    5. James B. Davies & Junsen Zhang, 1996. "Measuring Marginal Income Tax Rates for Individuals in Canada: Averages and Distributions over Time," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 959-975, November.
    6. Hettich,Walter & Winer,Stanley L., 2005. "Democratic Choice and Taxation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521021807, March.
    7. Winer, Stanley L. & Ferris, J. Stephen, 2008. "Searching for Keynesianism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 294-316, June.
    8. Toke Aidt & Peter Jensen, 2009. "Tax structure, size of government, and the extension of the voting franchise in Western Europe, 1860–1938," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(3), pages 362-394, June.
    9. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2005. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 831-849, June.
    10. Tridimas, George & Winer, Stanley L., 2005. "The political economy of government size," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 643-666, September.
    11. Saikkonen, Pentti, 1991. "Asymptotically Efficient Estimation of Cointegration Regressions," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 1-21, March.
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    Blog mentions

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    1. Exit!
      by Eric Crampton in Offsetting Behaviour on 2011-10-07 23:00:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Osberg, Lars, 2013. "Instability implications of increasing inequality: Evidence from North America," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 918-930.
    2. Giuranno, Michele G. & Rongili, Biswas, 2012. "Inter-jurisdictional migration and the size of government," MPRA Paper 42604, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Giuranno, Michele & Biswas, Rongili, 2015. "Internal migration and public policy," POLIS Working Papers 183, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.

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