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Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter of the Productivity Partnership/Partenariet productivité.
The Partnership is a team of experts from the academic, private and public sectors looking for an answer to Canada’s productivity performance using Canadian data from the firm or workplace level.

Over the past few months, we’ve been busy with, among other things, funding projects, planning events and talking with the media.

Over the next six years of the project, we’ll be continuing to in these endeavors and more and will be using various tools such as enewsletters, Twitter, and website (still in development) to communicate and engage.


A key part of the Partnership is to lower barriers to accessing Canadian firm and workplace level data for researchers so that productivity research can be conducted more effectively. We have funds available to assist in this goal and interested researchers should contact us to learn about what might be possible.

The following are some of the projects that have been approved for funding to date.

Title: The GHG-NPRI-ASM Database Development Project
Researcher: Nouri Najjar

Is there a conflict between economic growth and environmental sustainability? This project will assemble data that can be used to contribute to an evidence-based analysis of this question. As part of the project, Najjar has produced a data dictionary and user guide for the GHG-NPRI-ASM (Greenhouse Gas-National Pollutant Registry Inventory-Annual Survey of Manufacturing) database, which will be the basis of economic analysis that relates economic growth and the environment.
Nouri Najar is a Partnership research associate of the Partnership at Statistics Canada and a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at the University of British Columbia.
Title: Accounting for Foreign-born Employees in a Firm's Decision to Export
Researcher: Miguel Cardoso

It is generally accepted that exporting firms have higher productivity than firms that do not export. There are suggestions that this is a two-way relationship: more efficient firms are positioned to export but that there is also feedback from the exporting process that makes firms more efficient. In this context, this project will document the relationship between firms that export and the composition of their employees, and explore how Canada's immigration policy may have affected firms’ ability to export productivity.
Miguel Cardoso is a Partnership research associate of the Partnership and Ph.D. candidate in Economics at partner Western University.
Title: Immigrant Careers and Networks
Researchers: David Card, Ana Damas De Matos, Daniel Parent

As mentioned regarding the previous project, there appears to be a linkage between productivity and exporting and it is possible that immigration can indirectly influence firm productivity through that channel. There are also possible ways through which immigration may affect productivity depending upon the immigrant skill mix and how well immigrants match with jobs in the labour market.  This project will pursue two related issues: 1) how immigrants sort into different firms as they assimilate following arrival and how job referral networks play a role in that process, and 2) how firm-specific pay policies potentially affect immigrants and natives differently and thus may contribute to the immigrant-native wage gap.
David Card is Class of 1950 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Ana Damas De Matos and Daniel Parent are respectively Assistant Professor and Professor at partner HEC Montréal. They are also co-investigators in the Partnership.
Title: Canadian International Investment Agreements with emerging economies and firm structure
Research: Stephanie Houle

This project aims to study how the signing of the International Investment Agreements (IAAs) change the structure of Canadian firms that trade and invest these countries. The goal is to estimate how the investment protection portion of these agreements impacted Canadian firms’ decision to vertically integrate with its intermediate input suppliers in those countries or to horizontally integrate by expanding to new markets. The key issue is how much those agreements affect economic growth in Canada.
Stephanie Houle is a Partnership research associate of the Partnership and a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at partner McMaster University.
Title: Management Practices and Firm Performance
Researcher: Bryan Hong

Bryan Hong’s work concentrates on how management practice can affect productivity, largely using CDER data. The first part of this project (Complementarity of Performance Pay and Task Allocation, with Lorenz Kueng, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and Mu-Jeung Yang, Department of Economics, University of Washington, Seattle) studies the extent to which performance pay is used by firms to reward good decisions. One marker is whether performance pay tends to be adopted along with decentralized decision-making.  The second part of this project (Barbarians at the Gate: How foreign competition affects intra-organizational conflict with Romel Mostafa, Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario) examines to what extent the threat of external competition to the firm affects conflict among groups within an organization? The third part of this project (Incentives as a Moderator of Conflict During Organizational Change) focuses on the disruptive conflicts that arise from organizational change and whether they are mitigated by performance incentives.  
Bryan Hong is a Partnership collaborator and Assistant Professor at the Ivey School of Business at partner Western University.
Title: Employment Growth and Financial Frictions at Firm Level: Empirical Evidence From Canada
Researchers: Gorkem Ozdemir, Hafedh Bouakez

This study, using Canadian firm level CDER data, will test the effects of borrowing constraints following a financial shock on the entry decisions of potential entrepreneurs, as well as the early lifetime dynamics of new firms with a focus on their hiring decisions.
Gorkem Ozdemir is a Partnership research associate and Ph.D. candidate. Hafedh Bouakez is an Associate Professor of Applied Economics. Both are at partner HEC Montréal.
Title: Firm Productivity Dynamics
Researchers: Alex Amundsen and Markus Poschke

The CDER firm data will be studied to estimate how long top productive firms tend to stay highly productive and what their productivity level tends to be before (and potentially after) they are at the top end of the productivity distribution. And do changes in firm productivity have different dynamics depending upon whether they are negative or positive or small or large? This project could influence most modern macroeconomic models, which tend to embed very simple dynamic processes.
Alex Amundsen is a Partnership research associate and Ph.D. candidate at McGill University, where Markus Poschke is an Associate Professor of Economics.
Title: Relationship-Lending and SMEs in Canada
Researcher: Yasin Salimibeni, Nicolas Vincent

From a welfare perspective, it is crucial that creditors price debt efficiently in order to ensure that the most productive firms can access capital and other inputs to expand. Yet, information asymmetry makes it challenging and costly to assess whether the borrowing firm will be able and willing to pay back its debt. Accordingly, financing of SMEs is assumed to be a more challenging and riskier process compared to that of large firms. In this research, we investigate the causes and effects of imperfect and asymmetric information in credit markets, a type of friction that necessarily pervades typical borrower-lender relationships. We use data from the Survey of Financing of Small and Medium Enterprises to evaluate the informational factors that shape the availability and cost of external funds to firms. We take into account the range of monitoring tools available to creditors including both hard (accounting-based) and soft (relationship-based) information. Our objective is to evaluate if a bank-firm relationship improves the debt pricing of SMEs in the sense that banks acquire more reliable information about the firms’ risk and price debt accordingly. We see this as a first step in building a macro-financial model that gives a prominent and evidence-based role for information incompleteness, with the goal of improving our understanding of financial crises and macroprudential management.

Yasin Salimibeni is a Partnership research associate and Ph.D. candidate. Nicolas Vincent is an Associate Professor of Applied Economics. Both are at partner HEC Montréal.


The Partnership is committed to supporting and training the next generation of researchers and economists through mentorship and research assistant opportunities and professional development activities. If you're a student interested in opportunities, please contact us.


Cassandra Cao and Rebecca Dafoe, two M.A. students, worked with Partnership Director Michael Veall (Professor of Economics at partner McMaster University) on a project related to inclusive growth. Income inequality is only one measure of economic inequality. This project ties to two others.

Cassandra Cao, who has now graduated with her M.A. from McMaster and has a position at the Higher Education Quality Commission of Ontario, continues to work on inequality in charitable contributions. While charitable contribution behaviour is interesting in itself, the link to the Partnership is that ordinary measures of income may miss important dimensions of economic welfare such as wealth, particularly for very affluent individuals. Perhaps charitable contributions can provide a window to determine how well income measures affluence at the very top of the distribution.

In a related project, M.A. candidate Rebecca Dafoe is using another possible non-income measure of affluence, Census housing measures. She has found that the increased concentration of incomes in the top end has been for some cities largely matched by increased concentration of housing (proxied by the number of rooms measure in the Census).
In addition to the work by a number of Ph.D. students listed in "New Projects", Pedro-José Martínez-Alanis is receiving an RAship, which takes the place of his TAship. The RAship has given him much more time to work on his research than students normally have. Pedro's research focuses on how labor and capital inputs are allocated across manufacturing firms and its aggregate implications on total factor productivity. In particular, he's interested in the role of financial frictions on firm size and firm productivity, specifically collateral constraints. He's currently working on this issue in Mexico using detailed firm-level data. Detailed firm-level data is an important element for understanding firm behavior. It allows one to generate more accurate measurements of productivity, firm-level heterogeneity within industries and unbiased estimates of the relationship between productivity and firm size.  

Ph.D Defense

On September 14, 2016, John Kealey, a Partnership research associate, successfully defended his PhD. in economics at partner McMaster University. The title of his defense ‘Econometric analysis of firm-level production data’. Pau Salvador Pujolas Fons, a co-investigator in the Partnership, was a committee member.


Over the course of the project, the Partnership will be holding various events including data sessions, workshops, meetings and conferences.

There are funds to assist students and researchers who may wish to attend Partnership events. Please contact us if interested.

Data Day

Friday March 24, 2017
Western University, London, Ontario

  • Morning: Individual-level data 
  • Afternoon: Firm-level data & Data access and student opportunities
  • Evening: Dinner
For more information, please visit the event website.

Labour Workshop

Thursday May 11, 2017
HEC Montreal, Montreal, Quebec
Preliminary list of confirmed speakers
  • David Card (Berkeley)
  • Florian Hoffman (UBC)
  • Kory Kroft (Toronto)
  • Theodore Papageorgiou (McGill)
  • Chris Riddell (Waterloo)
  • Johannes Schmieder (Boston)
For more information, please contact us.


The Partnership is co-sponsoring an issue of Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de politiques, edited by Charlotte Yates, Greigory Mordue and Brendan Sweeney on ‘Public Policy and Canada’s Automotive Industry.’ Greigory Mordue is ArcelorMittal Dofasco Professor of Advanced Manufacturing Policy at partner McMaster and is a Co-investigator in the Partnership.

In addition to editing the volume, he co-authored the overview piece and ‘The Restructuring of Canada’s Automotive Industry, 2005-2014’ (with Brendan Sweeney) and sole-authored “Doors Closed and Opportunities Missed: Lessons from Failed Automotive Investment Attraction in Canada in the 1980s”.

Included in the eight article issue is a contribution by Partnership collaborator Jim Stanford, who is Director of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute, Sydney Australia, Honorary Professor of Political Economy, University of Sydney and Harold Innis Industry Professor in Economics at McMaster. His article is entitled, “When an Auto Industry Disappears: Australia’s Experience and Lessons for Canada.


Bank of Canada Fellowship Award
One of the 2016 Bank of Canada Fellowship Award recipients is Daniel Trefler, a Partnership Collaborator and Professor at the University of Toronto. The Fellowship Award is designed to encourage leading-edge research and development of expertise in Canada in a number of areas critical to the Bank’s mandate.

Killam Prize
On April 22, 2016, Daniel Trefler, a Partnership Collaborator and Professor at the University of Toronto, was awarded the Killam Prize, one of the highest honours a Canadian scholar can win.
The Robert Mundell Prize
Alex Chernoff, whose research as a student was recently supported by our predecessor network and who is now a researcher at our partner the Bank of Canada, was awarded The Robert Mundell Prize for the best article published in the Canadian Journal of Economics in 2015 by an early-career economist for his paper ‘Between a Cap and a Higher Price: Modeling the Price of Dairy Quotas under Price Ceiling Legislation,’ which appeared in the November 2016 issue of the Canadian Journal of Economics.


July 27 2016
Director Michael Veall and Co-investigators Benoit Dostie of HEC and Byron Spencer of McMaster attended the "CIHR- Institute of Health Services and Policy Research Workshop on Recommendations Related to Amendment of the Statistics Act" at McGill University.

September 20, 2016
McMaster University's Daily News article about the Productivity Partnership.

September 27, 2016
Dr. Michael Veall, Project Director, & Angela Di Nello, Project Coordinator, attended the SSHRC Partnership Grant Start-up workshop in Ottawa.

September 29, 2016
Dr. Michael Veall gave an interview on CHCH News to discuss the increase in the minimum wage.

Oct 22, 2016
Dr. Michael Veall, Project Director, gave the Graham Lecture, ‘Top End Inequality in Canada: The Regional Dimension, at the conference of the Atlantic Canada Economics Association meetings at Mt. Allison using some of Rebecca Dafoe's work.

October 25, 2016
Dr. Michael Veall gave a CHML 900 radio interview on government debt . The link is no longer active.


Statistics Canada Liaison Researcher

We are pleased to announce the hiring of Beryl Li as the Partnership’s Statistics Canada Liaison Researcher.

Beryl will assist both external researchers (including students) visiting CDER in Ottawa and researchers who are unable to be physically present in Ottawa in the conduct of their projects. She will also help document data and results. Please email us for information on how to utilize Beryl's expertise.

Partnership Project Coordinator

We would like to introduce Angela Di Nello, the Productivity Partnership’s Project Coordinator.

Angela will organize events, human resources, knowledge translation pieces (e.g. website, newsletters) and broader knowledge mobilization. Angela’s workdays are Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Please feel free to contact her at:
Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada logo
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