Welcome to the Productivity Partnership's summer newsletter!

Since our last newsletter, we’ve continued to fund new projects, plan and host events, and grow our digital and social media presence. We’ve also welcomed several new members to the team.

We are pleased to announce that the Productivity Partnership website is live, as are our Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Connect with us and stay up-to-date with our latest news, event details, and more!

In this newsletter:



The following are some of the projects that have been approved for funding since our previous newsletter.
Title: Are immigrants financially sophisticated? Evidence from tax records.
Researchers: Benoit Dostie, Rajshri Jayaraman, Albrecht Glitz

Are Canadian immigrants more or less likely thOne indication of how well Canadian immigrants are able to integrate into the economy might be whether they are more or less likely than Canadian-born citizens to respond to individual or corporate tax provisions. For example, individuals who understand the tax system may tend to adjust their behaviour so that they bunch at key thresholds i.e. around a kink in the tax schedule where tax rates increase. By investigating the differences in bunching between the two populations, this project explores to what extent language, human capital, and networks can account for different tax responsiveness.

Datasets: CEEDD, NALMF

Title: Firms’ Performance in a Natural Resource-based Economy
Researchers: Saeed Moshiri, Wessel Vermeulen and Gry Østenstad

In research in an Oxford University working paper series, Østenstad and Vermeulen have provided a theoretical model for the development and behavior of firms that operate in an economy affected by natural resource development. Such an economy has the benefit of a natural resource windfall, which can influence firms’ export decisions. A windfall boosts demand, but can also affect relative wages and production costs, particularly for exporters, making it difficult for some firms to compete. The current project will test this model on Canadian firm microdata.

Datasets: ASM

Title: Labour Market Implications of Mergers and Acquisitions
Researchers: Olivier Dessaint and Andrey Golubov

Recent research suggests that shareholder gains from mergers and acquisitions stem largely from post-merger layoffs. This project seeks to broaden our understanding of the efficiency and social welfare implications of mergers and acquisitions by examining the “human cost” of acquisitions. Specifically, the effect of mergers on:
         a) probability of job termination;
         b) socioeconomic characteristics of affected workers;
         c) subsequent employment, earnings, and relocation of laid-off workers.

Datasets: CEEDD linked to ROE, NALMF

Have an idea for a project on productivity?
 Visit our website to learn more about how to apply for project funding.


Student: Alex Thompson, McMaster University
Supervisors: Drs. Arthur Sweetman and Mike Veall
Project Focus: Is There Evidence of ICT Labour Shortages in the Canadian Labour Force Survey?

Some research has suggested that the Information and Communications Technology industry is particularly important for productivity increase This project examines data from the Canadian Labour Force Survey to determine whether there is evidence there that Canada faces a skill and labour shortage in the ICT sector. The study also investigates the magnitude of such shortages and their potential impacts.

Student: Francisco Adame Espinosa, Western University
Project Focus: Transmission of Sovereign Default Risk to Firms

If a government defaults on its credit (sovereign default), what are the implications for firms and their credit market? Francisco’s project addresses this question and seeks to formalize a macroeconomic model able to quantify if a fall in credit is able to account for a drop in firms’ output and productivity, while accounting for differences between firms.

Student: Zhuang Liu and Jin Zhou, Western University joint with Partnership co-investigator Salvador Navarro, Western University
Project Focus: Government Subsidy and Firm Productivity

How does government subsidy affect firm productivity? State-owned firms in China are heavily subsidized by government, which provides a valuable subject for research. The data for this project comes from Chinese manufacturing firms spanning 1998-2007 to study the effect of government subsidy on the evolution of firms’ productivity.

Student: Phuong Vu, Western University
Project Focus: Immigrant Skills and Networks as Determinants of Labour Market Outcomes

Immigrants will be more productive in Canada if they are successful in finding good employment matches. One factor in such success may be the immigrant’s networks. Using the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada, this research aims to build qualitative and quantitative indicators of immigrants’ networks to determine their impact on employment opportunities and other aspects of job search process. This includes:

a) the probability of getting a job offer;
b) job duration;
c) separation rate;
d) how results vary between male and female groups, or different immigration categories.

Student: Aldo Sandoval Hernandez, Western University
Project Focus: The Role of Export Intermediaries in Trade Dynamics

The primary goal of this research is to understand why some firms prefer using trade intermediaries instead of directly importing their inputs. Aldo’s research also aims to measure how indirect importing inputs affects a firms’ production costs and efficiency and hence affects the prices of the goods produced and consumed in Canada.


Jarislowsky Chair in Cultural and Economic Transformation Projects

Skilled immigrants may be an important contributor to Canadian economic efficiency. Dr. Tony Fang, the Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Cultural and Economic Transformation and Partnership co-investigator, is researching the attraction and retention of skilled immigrants and international students. A separate project examines the settlement and retention of refugees in NL. The Jarislowsky Chair team received funding for four projects from both SSHRC and the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy & Development’s Newfoundland and Labrador Population Project.


July 2017

Complementarity of Performance Pay and Task Allocation 
Bryan Hong, Ivey Business School, Western University
Lorenz Kueng, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University & NBER
Mu-Jeung Yang, University of Washington – Seattle (R&R at Management Science)

May 2017

What rates of productivity growth would be required to offset the effects of population aging? A study of twenty industrialized countries
Frank T Denton, McMaster University
Byron G Spencer, McMaster University

A Half-Century of Stagnation: Labour Productivity in Ontario’s Gold Mining Industry
Robert J Petrunia, Lakehead University
Karl Skogstad, Lakehead University

The Effects of Foreign and Domestic Demand Heterogeneity on Firm Dynamics with Implications to Aggregate Productivity and Trade
Bernardo S. Blum, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Sebastian Claro, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and Banco Central de Chile
Ignatius Horstmann, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
David Rivers, Department of Economics, Western University

March 2017

The Canadian Productivity Stagnation, 2002-2014
Juan Carlos Conesa, Stony Brook University
Pau S. Pujolas, McMaster University


The following papers are current endeavours of Bryan Hong (Western University).

“Barbarians at the Gate: The Effect of Foreign Competition on Intra-organizational Conflicts”
This paper provides empirical evidence that competition from foreign and domestic firms has differential effects on the likelihood of observing conflicts between management and labour (e.g. strikes) within organizations. Specifically, we find that while domestic competition has no effect on conflicts, foreign competition leads to fewer conflicts within the firm.

"External Managerial Hiring and Task Allocation"
While the practice of hiring managers from outside the firm has been argued to lead to more innovation by firms, we document that external managerial hiring also leads to firms giving managers greater authority to make decisions for tasks within the firm. Furthermore, when the practice of managerial hiring is appropriately matched with the level of decision-making authority allocated to them, innovations are more likely to be produced.


The following are new grants that members of the Partnership have been successful in winning:
SSHRC Targeted Research: Syrian Refugee Arrival, Resettlement and Integration competition ($24,332)
Partnership members: Tony Fang, Memorial University

Harris Centre Applied Research Funds: Settlement and Integration of Refugees in Newfoundland and Labrador ($14,455)
Partnership members: Tony Fang, Memorial University

SSHRC Insight Grant: Empirical Methods for Studying Technical Efficiency, Productivity, and Competition
Partnership members: Salvador Navarro and David Rivers, Western University

SSHRC Insight Grant: Imperfect Commitment, Inflation, and Government Debt Maturity
Partnership members: Ananth Ramanarayanan, Western University


Productivity Partnership Seminars,
McMaster University 
  Date: Wednesday September 6, 2017
Location: KTH 334, McMaster University, Hamilton ON
Time: 12:30-1:20
Speaker: Wessel Vermeulen, Newcastle University, London

Dr. Vermeulen discusses how exports respond to changes in domestic trade costs.

Productivity Partnership Seminars,
McMaster University 

The effects of trade policy

Date: Friday September 15, 2017
Location: TBA, McMaster University, Hamilton ON
Time: 11:30-12:20, with lunch following
Speaker: Penny Goldberg, Yale University

This is a discussion based on her paper, "The Effects of Trade Policy" co-authored with Nina Pavcnik, a contribution to the Handbook of Commercial Policy edited by Kyle Bagwell and Robert Staiger. Participants will be expected to have read the paper in advance. 

If you wish to attend, please send an email to the Productivity Partnership, also indicate whether you expect to be able to attend the following lunch.

Ottawa Partners Meeting of the Productivity, Firms and Incomes Network

Location: Bank of Canada Conference Centre, Ottawa, Ontario

Time: 8:30-4:00

Program will be finalized shortly. If you're interested in attending, please email the Productivity Partnership.
Need support to attend a conference?
 Visit our website to learn more about how to apply for conference support funding.


Danny Leung, Statistics Canada

Data Day 2017

March 24, 2017
Western University, London ON

In March, approximately 45 people participated in Data Day organizaed by Partnership co-applicant Michael Haan.

The goal of the event was to educate and inform students, economists and others with an interest in Canadian data.

Speakers presented from Statistics Canada, McMaster University and Western University.

Presentation topics included a number of Statistics Canada datasets as well as data collection, data access and student opportunities.

Synthetic Longitudinal Business Data (SynLBD) International User Seminar

May 9, 2017
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC 

This event was organized by Lars Vilhuber, Partnership collaborator from Cornell University. Lars and several other key speakers presented on the SynLBD approach and how to implement it.

Labour Workshop

May 11, 2017
Quebec inter-University Centre for Social Statistics, HEC Montréal, Montréal QC

This workshop was organized by Partnership co-investigators Ana Damas de Matos, Daniel Card, and Benoit Dostie of HEC Montréal. Thirty people participated in the workshop which featured 6 speakers, who discussed Canadian labour markets, minimum wages and compensation inequality within the firm, unemployment, and labour market transitions.

Annual Workshop of Southern Ontario Macro Economists (AWSOME)

May 17, 2017
McMaster University, Hamilton ON

The Department of Economics at McMaster University and the Productivity Partnership co-sponsored the Annual Workshop for Southern Ontario Macroeconomists (AWSOME) mid-May, whose goal was to enable discussion on the latest developments in this field. AWSOME featured sessions on productivity, labour, demographics and life cycle, and internationalism.

Productivity Partnership Data Schools at the CEA Annual Conference

June 2-4, 2017
St. Francis Xavier, Antigonish NS

The Productivity Partnership organized three sessions at the CEA conference: one focused on current Partnership research, and two others (data school sessions) focused on applications of firm-level data and improving access to economic microdata in Canada. Four additional sessions were planned by Andrew Sharpe, Partnership collaborator from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards. To support student participation in the Conference, the Partnership provided travel grants to twelve PhD students.

Mini-symposium on Schooling & Human Capital

June 8, 2017
McMaster University, Hamilton ON

McMaster’s Department of Economics and the Productivity Partnership co-hosted a mini-symposium on schooling and human capital development, featuring presentations by John Haisken-DeNew of the University of Melbourne, on Unawareness and Selective Disclosure: The Effect of School Quality Information on Property Price, and Sonja Kassenboehmer of Monash University on Teacher assessment biases and human capital development: The role of visible student physical attributes.

Data Day attendees listen to a presentation at Western University.

DATASET HIGHLIGHT: Canadian Patent Dataset (CPD)

Each newsletter we'll highlight a dataset and how it's being used. This month we're highlighting the Canadian Patent Dataset (CPD).
The C.D. Howe Institute has constructed a database from patent applications to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) for the period 1980 to 2013. The database of over 1 million patent applications includes a variety of information on each application including:
  • Technical field of invention
  • Year the patent was applied for
  • Location and identity of inventor(s)
  • Location and identity of applicant(s)
  • Whether the application was originally filed in another country
  • When and to whom the patent has been sold
  • Its current owner
Because the database covers all patent applications filed at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, there can be a focus on innovations in Canada and abroad that are intended for use in Canada. The approach, unlike measures of research inputs or measures of Canadian applications abroad, enables one to study innovation with intended application and potential commercialization in Canada. Please visit the CPD dataset webpage to read more.


To keep up-to-date with our latest news, follow us on Twitter

CBC News - "On the Money"
Partnership co-investigator Greig Mordue discusses his recent report on Canada's auto industry.

CBC News - Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot Project
Partnership director Mike Veall gives his take on Ontario’s basic income pilot project.

The Independent - Immigrant Retention in NF and Atlantic Canada
Partnership collaborator Tony Fang explains how certain practices can lead to a higher rate of immigrant retention in Maritime regions.

Exploring Research Opportunities through the Productivity Partnership

We are creating an interactive online presentation about 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 process 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. When completed, the presentation will be available on our website.


The Partnership team continues to grow. Over the past couple of months, we've welcomed three new members:
M. Jahangir Alam - Post-Doctoral Fellow
Jahangir started on May 1st 2017. He is currently working to create a synthetic database for the LEAP (Longitudinal Employment Analysis Program) database. His office is at Statistics Canada in Ottawa but he works closely with our collaborator Lars Vilhuber of Cornell University and our colleagues at HEC Montreal.
Megan Karabin - Knowledge Translation & Research Assistant
Megan is currently an undergraduate student at McMaster in the cognitive science of language program. She is responsible for all English-French translation of written content for the Partnership, as well as managing our social media accounts, maintaining website content, and newsletter creation.
Tharushe Jayaveer - Multimedia Designer & Research Assistant
Tharushe is an undergraduate student at McMaster University completing an honours degree in Economics and a minor in Political Science. Currently, she is working on our informative media project; future projects will include creating infographics for the general public and various audiences. She is also involved in developing the research portion of the Productivity Partnership websites.
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