Welcome to the Productivity Partnership's summer newsletter!
In this newsletter:


Since the start of the Partnership, we have funded 30 research projects with more coming on a regular basis.

The following are some of the projects that have been approved for funding since our previous newsletter.
Title: Price Dispersion and Trade Policy
Researchers: Jahangir Alam (HEC Montréal) and Nicolas Vincent (HEC Montréal)​
This study investigates the impact of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on price dispersion in Canada. The impact of trade reforms on producer price dispersion is not straightforward: while increased competition would be expected to alleviate price differences by favoring the most productive firms, access to new markets alongside product differentiation may allow producers to charge more disperse prices. The implementation of the Canada-US FTA can be viewed as a natural experiment to study this question, making it an ideal setting for identifying the forces and mechanisms at play. We will perform this estimation using a difference-in-differences (DID) approach with data from the Canadian Annual Commodity Surveys of Manufactures (ACSM) for the period from 1988 to 1996. Finally, using plant-level characteristics, we identify the mechanism through which the Canada-US FTA affects price dispersion and link them to productivity growth.
Datasets: Canadian Annual Commodity Surveys of Manufactures (ACSM)
Title: The Impact of Voluntary Energy Conservation Programs on Economic and Environmental Outcomes: Evidence from the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation
Researchers: Philippe Kabore (Univeristy of Ottawa) and Nicholas Rivers (Univeristy of Ottawa)​

Regulatory controls to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rarely reach a consensus among politicians, and they are also likely to be opposed by interest groups. To overcome these issues, some countries have launched voluntary programs to improve environmental outcomes. These programs encourage establishments to internalize the costs of environmental degradation. Following the objective of reducing establishments' energy consumption and thus GHG emissions, in 1975 Canada launched a voluntary energy conservation program called the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC). What is the effectiveness of the Canadian energy conservation program? Does the energy conservation program have an indirect impact on establishments’ economic performance? To estimate the causal impact of the Canadian energy conservation program, we will use four estimation method which are fixed effects method, instrumental variables, propensity score matching, and coarsened exact matching.

Datasets: Annual Survey of Manufacturing (ASM) and General Index of Financial Information (GIFI)

Unsure what is possible using CDER datasets?

Explore the presentation 'Exploring Research Opportunities through the Productivity Partnership' to find out what is possible.

We've created an interactive online presentation on how to utilize the Productivity Partnership to access data at the Statistics Canada Centre for Data Development and Economic Research (CDER). The presentation outlines each data set’s highlights and explains the application processes for both the Partnership and CDER. This project is targeted primarily toward prospective applicants and website viewers, but is designed to be informative and accessible to all audiences. 


Have an idea for a project on productivity?

 Visit our website to learn more about how to apply for project funding.


Jahangir Alam (HEC Montréal) presenting on Price Dispersion and Trade Policy
JDI Roundtable on Manufacturing Competitiveness in New Brunswick 
September 25 – 26 | Fredericton Convention Centre, NB

The Partnership co-sponsored an event in Fredericton that focused on the economic future of New Brunswick, and how manufacturing can contribute to growth in the province. The event began with a keynote address from Bruce Simpson, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company Canada. The following day, there was a Roundtable discussion consisting of two presentations and panelist discussions.

Presenters included Partnership Collaborators: 
  • Herb Emery (Director AIPR, Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics): New perspectives on New Brunswick manufacturing trends, determinants and what they mean for opportunities for growth of the sector and the economy
  • Andrew Sharpe (Centre for the Study of Living Standards, Partnership Collaborator): Productivity trends and drivers in NB manufacturing sector
Panel discussion topics:
  • Panel 1: Meeting skills and labour supply needs of manufacturers in the province and region
  • Panel 2: Investment and productivity growth in manufacturing: Trends, determinants and what they tell for how to improve the competitiveness of manufacturers in the province and region
  • Panel 3: Manufacturers respond
Partnership Co-Investigator, Greig Mordue was a panelist for the Investment and Productivity Growth in Manufacturing discussion. 

For more information please visit the event website

International Trade, Firms and Productivity Workshop
September 13 – 14 | Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC
The Productivity Partnership co-sponsored "The International Trade, Firms and Productivity," workshop at Simon Fraser University (SFU). The workshop consisted of six presentations, focusing on the components of international trade that affect firm productivity. 

Session I:
  • Andreas Moxnes (University of Oslo/University of Princeton): The Origins of Firm Heterogeneity: A Production Network Approach
  •  Scott Orr (University of British Columbia):  Productivity Dispersion, Import Competition, and Specialization in Multi-product Plants
  • Chair: Matilde Bombardini (University of British Columbia)
Session II:
  • Davin Chor (Darmouth College): Contracting Frictions in Global Sourcing: Implications for Welfare
  • Loretta Fung (National Tsing Hua University, Partnership Collaborator): Immigrant Business Ownership and International Trade
  • Chair: Jim Markusen (University of Colorado)
Session III:
  • Bernardo Blum (University of Toronto): The ABCs of Firm Heterogeneity: The Effects of Demand and Cost Differences on Exporting
  • Ken Kikkawa (University of British Columbia): Trade and Domestic Production Networks
  • Chair: Scott Taylor (University of Calgary)
On September 13, participants gathered for an event honouring. retired SFU professor, Richard Harris. The evening began with a session on Trade Policy. Partnership Collaborator, Dan Trefler (Univeristy of Toronto), spoke at the event on "Trade Policy Without the Rule of Law."

For more information on the workshop please visit the conference website. Details on the evening honouring Richard Harris can be found here.

Canadian Economics Association Annual Meeting 
May 31 – June 2 | University of Calgary, Banff AB
The Productivity Partnership Partnership hosted two data school sessions at this years CEAs. Dr. Beryl Li, Productivity Partnership Statistics Canada Liaison Researcher, provided an overview and update on the business microdata available at CDER/Statistics Canada. The second session consisted of presentations from researchers whose projects have been funded by the Partnership:​

  • John Lester (University of Calgary, Partnership Collaborator): Do Returns to R&D Vary by Size of Firm? Evidence from Canada
  • Jahangir Alam (HEC Montréal): Price Dispersion and Trade Policy
  • Peter Morrow (University of Toronto): Working with the Linked T2-LEAP Data Set

A number of presentations from the workshop are available on our website.​

2019 Partners Meeting in Ottawa: Advances in the Study of Productivity 
April 30 | Ottawa 

Together with partners Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada and the Bank of Canada, the Partnership co-organized a workshop on April 30 at the Bank of Canada. The workshop focused on topics including: wages and productivity, international trade, immigration and productivity, and the future of research in productivity. The workshop began with opening remarks from Sharon Kozicki, Advisor to the Governer, Bank of Canada. Research was presented by:
  • Anna Stansbury (Harvard University): Productivity and Pay: Is the Link Broken?
  • Bend Sand (York University): Geographic Spillovers of Booms: The Effects of Canada's Resource Boom on Canada-US Differences in Wages
  • Alexander Chernoff (Bank of Canada): Exchange Rates, Retailers and Importing: Theory and Firm-Level Evidence 
  • Eugene Beaulieu (University of Calgary, Partnership Collaborator): The Impact of International Trade on Productivity
  • Ben Tomlin (Bank of Canada, Partnership Collaborator): On the Origin of Trade Flows: Importers, Exporters and Products
  • Claudia Steinwender (M.I.T.): The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Firm Productivity and Innovation
  • Natalia Kyui (Bank of Canada): The Economic Performance of Immigrants in Canada
  • Greg Wright (University of California, Merced): Processing Immigration Shocks: Firm Responses on the Innovation Margin
  • Andrew Sharpe (Centre for the Study of Living Standards, Partnership Collaborator): Firm-Level Productivity Research in Canada

A number of presentations from the workshop are available on our website.

International Metropolis Conference - The Promise of Migration: Inclusion, Economic Growth and Global Cooperation

June 24-28 | Ottawa | Gatineau

On behalf of the Productivity Partnership, project co-investigator Benoit Dostie (HEC Montréal), organized a joint session with partner organization Employment Social Development Canada (ESDC) at the Internation Metropolis Conference. The session titled, "Innovative Data and Research to Understand Economic Contributions by Migrants and Refugees," showcased new data sets developed by the ESDC and highlighted the importance of using administrative date for policy making and evaluating.

Presentors included Benoit Dostie, Huju Liu from our partner Statistics Canada, and Guy Lacroix (Université Laval).

Partnership co-investigator, Tony Fang (Memorial University of Newfoundland) also participated in two sessions at the conference:
  • The Attraction and Retention of Migrant Talent: Trends, Experiences and Approaches
  • State & Non-state Actors in Attracting & Retaining Newcomers Outside the Big Cities and in Non-Traditional Immigrant Regions

The full conference program can be found on the conference website



Below is a selection of Partnership news.
New Positions

Akio Yamazaki, University of Calgary Economics PhD Canadidate whose research has been supported by the Partnership, will be joining the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo, Japan on October 1, 2019 as an Assistant Professor. Congratulations Akio!

Jahangir Alam, former Post-Doctoral Fellow for the Partnership, will be joining Truman State University, Kirksville Missouri, as an Assistant Professor. Congratulations Jahangir!

Karen Bravo (McMaster University Economics PhD candidate), who holds a Productivity Partnership studentship, was awarded the first place prize at the Canadian Research Data Centre Network Policy Challenge. Karen was selected from over 40 other entrants and 10 finalists. Congratulations Karen!
Byron Spencer (Member of the Jury), Karen Bravo, and Martin Taylor (Executive Director of the CRDCN)  
Journal Articles and Publications

Congratulations to the following Partnership associates on their recent publications:
Complementarity of Performance Pay and Task Allocation
Forthcoming in Management Science
Bryan Hong, (Ivey Business School Western University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business New York Unversity)
Lorenz Kueng (Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University)
Mu-Jeung Yang (University of Washington, Seattle)
Complementarity between performance pay and other organizational design elements has been argued to be one potential explanation for stark differences in the observed productivity gains from performance pay adoption. Using detailed data on internal organization for a nationally representative sample of firms, we empirically test for the existence of complementarity between performance pay incentives and decentralization of decision-making authority for tasks. To address endogeneity concerns, we exploit regional variation in income tax progressivity as an instrument for the adoption of performance pay. We find systematic evidence of complementarity between performance pay and decentralization of decision-making from principals to employees. However, adopting performance pay also leads to centralization of decision-making authority from non-managerial to managerial employees. The findings suggest that performance pay adoption leads to a concentration of decision-making control at the managerial employee level, as opposed to a general movement towards more decentralization throughout the organization.

The Wages Crisis in Australia 
University of Adelaide Press

Andrew Stewart (John Bray Professor of Law, University of Adelaide, Legal Consultant, Piper Alderman)
Tess Hardy (Melbourne Law School, Co-Director, Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law)
Jim Stanford (Harold Innis Industry Professor in Economics, McMaster University​, Director of the Centre for Future Work, Australia Institute, Partnership Collaborator)

Australian wage growth has decelerated in recent years to the slowest sustained pace since the 1930s. Nominal wages have grown very slowly since 2012; average real wages (after adjusting for inflation) have not grown at all. The resulting slowdown in personal incomes has contributed to weak consumer spending, more precarious household finances, and even larger government deficits.

The wage slowdown has elicited concern from economists and political leaders across the spectrum. Even Dr. Philip Lowe, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, has called it a "crisis," and suggested that faster wage growth would be beneficial for the economy.

This new collection of 20 essays by leading labour market experts and commentators in Australia explores the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to this problem.  The book is published by University of Adelaide Press. The book was launched in Melbourne on 29 November, with remarks from Natalie James, former Commonwealth Fair Work Ombudsman and Chair of the Victorian Inquiry Into the On-Demand Workforce.


Mike Veall, Partnership Director, was interviewed by The Globe and Mail for a piece on how retired baby boomers are changing the job market by extending their time spent working. The article can be found here: "Active baby boomers rewrite the retirement myth."
Greig Mordue, Partnership co-investigator, was interviewed by The Globe and Mail for an article about GM rejecting a union proposal for keeping its Oshawa plant open. The piece can be found here: "GM rejects union proposal to save Oshawa plant."

Greig Mordue was featured on TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin, where he was a panelist on the future of Canada's auto industry. The episode can be found here: "Ontario's Future in Auto Manufacturing."

Mike Veall was featured on Ontario Morning from CBC Radio to discuss the likelihood of a recession. The segment can be found here: "Ontario Morning Podcast - Thursday, March 28, 2019."
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