W. Craig Riddell

Royal Bank Faculty Research Professor

I am Royal Bank Faculty Research Professor in the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia and Academic Director of the Canadian Labour Market and Skills Research Network. I am also a Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) and the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM).

I currently serve on Statistics Canada’s Advisory Committee on Labour and Income Statistics and on the Board of Directors of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards. In 2012 I was the recipient of the Mike McCracken Award for Economic Statistics for contributions to the development and use of labour market data.

My teaching and research interests are in labour economics, labour relations and public policy. Current research focuses on education, skills formation, immigration, unemployment, unemployment insurance, and inequality.

In my spare time I enjoy playing hockey, squash, and skiing.

Please click on paper titles for abstracts and full text downloads.

Jump to: [Published articles] [Book chapters]

WORKING PAPERS

This study investigates the causal effects of education on individuals’ transitions between employment and unemployment, with particular focus on the extent to which education improves re-employment outcomes among unemployed workers. Given that positive correlations between education and labour force transitions are likely to be confounded by the endogeneity of education, we make use of data on compulsory schooling laws and child labour laws as well as conscription risk in the Vietnam War period to create instrumental variables to identify the causal relationships. Results indicate that education significantly increases re-employment rates of the unemployed. Particularly large impacts are found in the neighborhoods of 12 and 16 years of schooling. Evidence on the impact of formal schooling on unemployment incidence is mixed.

[go to paper]

This study investigates the causal effects of education on individual's transitions between employment and unemployment, with particular focus on the extent to which education improves re-employment outcomes among unemployed workers. Given that positive correlations between education and labour force transitions are likely to be confounded by the endogeneity of education, we make use of data on compulsory schooling laws and child labour laws as well as conscription risk in the Vietnam War period to create instrumental variables to identify the causal relationships. Results indicate that education significantly increases re-employment rates of the unemployed. Particularly large impacts are found in the neighborhoods of 12 and 16 years of schooling. Evidence on the impact of formal schooling on unemployment incidence is mixed.

[go to paper]

This study investigates the causal effects of education on individual's adaptability to employment shocks. Specifically, we assess the extent to which education influences re-employment success for unemployed workers. We also examine the impact of education on job search intensity, one potential mechanism through which education may increase the probability of re-employment following unemployment. Given that the positive correlation between education and adaptability is likely to be confounded by the endogeneity of education, we make use of data on compulsory schooling laws to create instrumental variables to assess the causal effects of education on adaptability. Based on data from the Canadian Census and the Labour Force Survey, we find that education both significantly improves re-employment opportunities and exerts significant positive impacts on job search intensity for the unemployed.

[go to paper]

The unemployment protection systems that exist in most Latin American economies are generally considered inadequate in terms of providing insurance to workers and are prone to generate stratified labor markets. Recently, research effort and policy interest has turned to Unemployment Insurance Savings Accounts (UISAs) as an alternative to traditional systems of unemployment insurance. UISAs are schemes of individual mandatory savings that smooth income over an individual's life cycle time rather than pooling unemployment risk over the total working population at a point in time. Although this form of unemployment insurance diminishes the moral hazard problems associated with traditional insurance methods, it presents problems of its own. First, it is questionable that these systems provide adequate protectionagainst unemployment risk. Additionally, their effects on the promotion of informal labor markets and their administrative costs are yet to be determined. Finally, the effectiveness as a form of unemployment insurance depends critically upon the performance and credibility of the financial institutions managing the funds. This paper examines the experience of Latin American countries that use UISAs, with the hope of highlighting the problems of the system and identifying areas for future theoretical and empirical work. In conclusion, the overall effect of UISAs depends on a vast array of specific country characteristics and program parameters. The way the system is implemented, existing labor regulation, the extent of the informal economy and the scope for collusive behavior greatly influence the success of these programs. This calls for a more extensive research effort in the area.

[go to paper]


Other versions:

Unemployment Insurance Savings Accounts in Latin America: Overview and Assessment.
(with Ferrer, Ana M.)
IZA Discussion Papers 5577, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
[go to paper]

Change is an enduring feature of the economy and the labour market, even in normal times. The importance of adjusting to change, and of policies that promote adjustment, has been a recurring theme throughout David Dodge's distinguished career. This paper deals with "displaced workers," those who permanently lose their jobs because of changing economic circumstances. I examine what we know about displacement and its consequences, and assess policies designed to assist workers adversely affected by economic change. A central finding of research on displacement is that long tenure displaced workers -- those who have held their jobs for an extended period of time -- suffer much more from losing their jobs than do others. Canada's Employment Insurance does not take into account this salient feature of the consequences of job loss. The paper discusses ways of addressing this deficiency in our primary social insurance program for job losers.

[go to paper]

This paper examines the evolution of the returns to human capital in Canada over the period 1980-2006. Most of the analysis is based on Census data, and on weekly wage and salary earnings of full-time workers. Our main finding is that the returns to education increased substantially for Canadian men between 1980 and 2000, in contrast to conclusions reached in previous studies. For example, the adjusted wage gap between men with exactly a bachelor's degree and men with only a high school diploma increased from 34 percent to 43 percent during this period. Most of this rise took place in the early 1980s and late 1990s. Returns to education also rose for Canadian women, but the magnitudes of the increases were more modest. For instance, the adjusted BA-high school wage differential among women increased about 4 percentage points between 1980 and 1985 and remained stable thereafter. Results based on Labour Force Survey data show the upward trend in returns to education has recently been reversed for both men and women. Another important development is that after fifteen years of expansion (1980-1995), the return to work experience measured by the wage gap between younger and older workers declined between 1995 and 2000. Finally, we find little difference between measures based on means and those based on medians of log wages for both genders. Also, the use of broader earnings measures (such as including self-employment earnings, using weekly earnings of all workers, or using annual earnings of full-time workers) does not alter the main conclusions from the analysis based on weekly wage and salary earnings of full-time workers.

[link to paper not available]


Other versions:

The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2005.
(with Boudarbat, Brahim & Lemieux, Thomas)
CLSRN Working Papers clsrn_admin-2010-2, UBC Department of Economics, 2010, revised 30 Jan 2010.
[go to paper]
The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2006
(with Boudarbat, Brahim & Lemieux, Thomas)
CLSRN Working Papers clsrn_admin-2009-8, UBC Department of Economics, 2009, revised 02 Feb 2009.
[go to paper]
The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2005.
(with Boudarbat, Brahim & Lemieux, Thomas)
IZA Discussion Papers 4809, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), 2010.
[go to paper]


Published as:

The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2005.
(with Boudarbat, Brahim & Lemieux, Thomas)
Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 36(1), pages 63-89, March.
[go to paper]

This paper presents a comparative analysis of the link between unionization and wage inequality in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. Our main motivation is to see whether unionization can account for differences and trends in wage inequality in industrialized countries. We focus on the U.S., the U.K., and Canada because the institutional arrangements governing unionization and collective bargaining are relatively similar in these three countries. The three countries also share large non-union sectors that can be used as a comparison group for the union sector. Using comparable micro data for the last two decades, we find that unions have remarkably similar qualitative impacts in all three countries. In particular, unions tend to systematically reduce wage inequality among men, but have little impact on wage inequality for women. We conclude that unionization helps explain a sizable share of cross-country differences in male wage inequality among the three countries. We also conclude that de-unionization explains a substantial part of the growth in male wage inequality in the U.K. and the U.S. since the early 1980s.

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Determining how to distinguish between unemployment and non-participation is important and controversial. The conventional approach employs a priori reasoning together with self-reported current behaviour. This paper employs an evidence-based classification of labour force status using information about the consequences of the behaviour of the nonemployed. We find that marginal attachment—defined as desiring work, although not searching—is a distinct labour market state, lying between those who do not desire work and the unemployed. Furthermore, there are important heterogeneities within these non-employment states. Two subsets of non-participants—both engaged in “waiting”—display behaviour similar to the unemployed.

[go to paper]


Published as:

Unemployment and Nonemployment: Heterogeneities in Labor Market States.
(with Stephen R. G Jones)
The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, 2006, vol. 88(2), pages 314-323, 08.
[go to paper]

Large increases in the educational attainment of Canadians have occurred during the past three decades. While Canadians' average years of completed schooling remains slightly below that in the U.S., it is higher than many OECD countries. Further, international tests of adult literacy show that the skills of well-educated Canadians are comparable to their counterparts in other OECD countries. Despite this dramatic rise in the supply of educated workers, and their increasing supply of hours in the paid labour market, the unemployment rate of those with more education has fallen relative to the less educated. Further, the wage premium associated with higher education has remained relatively stable. This suggests a substantial increase in the demand for more highly educated workers.

link to paper not available.

This paper assesses recent Canadian labour market outcomes and compares Canada's performance to that experienced in other industrialized countries. The focus is on three key dimensions: employment, unemployment, and the structure of earnings. Particular attention is devoted to the hypothesis that rising unemployment and widening earnings inequality are principally due to a relative shift in demand towards the skilled and away from the less skilled.

link to paper not available.

Wages for more- and less-educated workers have followed strikingly different paths in the U.S. and Canada. During the 1980's and 1990's, the ratio of earnings of university graduates to high school graduates increased sharply in the U.S. but fell slightly in Canada. Katz and Murphy (1992) found that for the U.S. a simple supply-demand model fit the pattern of variation in the premium over time. We find that the same model and parameter estimates explain the variation between the U.S. and Canada. In both instances, the relative demand for more-educated labor shifts out at the same, consistent rate. Both over time and between countries, the variation in rate of growth of relative wages can be explained by variation in the relative supply of more-educated workers. Many economists suspect that technological change is causing the steady increases in the relative demand for more-educated labor. If so, these data provide independent evidence on the spatial and temporal variation in the pattern of technological change. Whatever is causing this increased demand for skill, the evidence from Canada suggest that increases in educational attainment and skills can reduce the rate at which relative wages diverge.

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This paper carries out a comparative Canada-United States analysis of aggregate labour market dynamics using gross flows data. We find that there are many similarities in the behaviour of the flows among the states employment (E), unemployment (U), and out-of-the-labour-force (N) in the two countries, including the cyclical and seasonal features. In order to assess whether gross flows data can shed light on the factors which explain the emergence of a substantial unemployment rate gap between Canada and the U.S., we compare the behaviour of labour market dynamics in the pre-gap period, 1976-81, to that in the 1982-94 period, after the gap was established. We find that marked relative changes in some transition rates took place between these two periods. The probabilities of moving from U to E and from U to N fell more in Canada than in the U.S., while the probabilities of moving from E to U and from N to U changed in the opposite direction. Although the rise in Canadian unemployment is in part associated with relative changes in the transition rates between U and E (in both directions), much of the rise in relative unemployment is associated not with movements between employ-ment and non-employment but rather with movements between the non-employment states U and N. The paper provides further evidence that the search for an understanding of the rise in unemployment in Canada relative to the U.S. lies in the reasons for the relative changes in how Canadians and Americans spend their time when not employed.

link to paper not available.

During the 1980s a substantial gap emerged between unemployment rates in Canada and the United States. In this paper, we use microdata from labour force surveys at the beginning and the end of the decade to examine the sources of the emergent gap.

link to paper not available.


Other versions:

Unemployment in Canada and the United States: A Further Analysis.
(with Card, D.)
Working Papers 731, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section, 1996.
[link to paper not available.]

Little is known about the effect of unemployment insurance on employment durations. In this paper, the authors take advantage of a unique accidental experiment in the Canadian unemployment insurance system which created an exogenous increase in the entrance requirement (the number of weeks an individual must work to qualify for benefits) of up to four weeks in some regions. The authors identify the effects of this increase primarily by comparing the hazard rate out of employment for the experimental year, 1990, with that for the preceding year in regions where other parameters of the unemployment insurance system do not change. Copyright 1997 by Royal Economic Society.

link to paper not available.


Published as:

Qualifying for Unemployment Insurance: An Empirical Analysis
(with Green, David A.)
Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 67-84, January; 1997.
[go to paper]

link to paper not available.


Other versions:

Unionization in Canada and the United States: A Tale of Two Countries.
UBC Departmental Archives 92-37, UBC Department of Economics, 1992.
[link to paper not available.]


Published as:

Unionization in Canada and the United States: A Tale of Two Countries.
NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 109-148 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, 1993.
[go to paper]

This article provides an overview of the Canadian unemployment insurance program, including its evolution, salient features, relative size, and knowledge about its labor-market impacts. Understanding of these impacts is limited and the authors conclude that an event-study approach is a promising way to further this knowledge. They examine the effects of the 1976 unemployment insurance disentitlement of the elderly on their labor-force behavior and find evidence of significant adverse selection effects. Interactions with the public pension system suggest that poverty among the elderly could be best addressed through changes in programs other than unemployment insurance.

link to paper not available.


Published as:

The Economic Effects of Unemployment Insurance in Canada: An Empirical Analysis of UI Disentitlement.
(with Green, David A)
Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages S96-147, January; 1993.
[go to paper]

This paper surveys recent research on how to measure labour market activities such as unemployment and labour force participation. The conventional approach to distinguishing between unemployment and non-participation is to use a priori reasoning and self-reported survey responses about current activities, specifically availability for work and job search. In contrast, the research surveyed here employs evidence on the subsequent consequences of current activities, in particular on transitions among labour force states. This general approach appears to be a promising method for bringing evidence to bear on these difficult measurement issues.

[go to paper]


Other versions:

Measuring Unemployment and Structural Unemployment.
UBC Departmental Archives 99-21, UBC Department of Economics, 1999.
[link to paper not available.]


Published as:

Measuring Unemployment and Structural Unemployment.
Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(s1), pages 101-108, July; 2000.
[go to paper]

Most research on the contribution of human capital to economic growth and its role in the distribution of income uses indirect measures of human capital such as educational attainment and work experience. Such measures are arguably inputs into the production of human capital in the form of skills, competencies and knowledge. This study uses Canadian data from the international Adult Literacy Survey to analyse the role of directly observed skills -- specifically, prose, document and quantitative literacy -- on individual labour market earnings. The contributions of unobserved skills are taken into account using input measures (education and experience). We find that literacy skills have a large and statistically significant causal effect on earnings. As much as one-third of the return to education may be due to the combined effects of education on literacy and of literacy skills on earnings. In contrast, very little of the return to labour market experience is associated with the combined effects of experience on literacy and literacy skills on earnings.

[go to paper]

Although the unemployment rate is one of the most widely cited and closely monitored economic statistics, the definition and measurement of unemployment remain controversial. An important issue is whether non-employed persons who display a marginal attachment to the labor force (for example, those who are available for and desire work but are not searching for work) should be classified as unemployed or non-participants. Although this issue has been extensively debated, it has never been tested empirically. This paper carries out empirical tests of this and related hypotheses using a unique longitudinal data set from Canada. We find within the marginally attached a "waiting" group whose behavior indicates that they would be more appropriately classified as unemployed rather than out-of-the-labor force. The remainder of the marginally attached exhibit behavior between that of the unemployed and the balance of non-participants, suggesting that the desire for work among non-searchers conveys substantial information about labor force attachment and future employment status. Our methods also apply to heterogeneity within the unemployed, and we investigate behavioral variation linked to differences in job search methods and reasons for entry into unemployment. Although those using "passive" job search do exhibit behavior somewhat distinct from "active" searchers, our results reject the practice of classifying passive job searchers as out-of-the-labor force. Overall, our results indicate that the non-employed are very heterogeneous, so that any single division into "unemployment" and "out-of-the-labor force" is unlikely to fully capture the variety of degrees of labor force attachment.

[go to paper]

Other versions:

The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach.
(with Jones, S.R.G.)
UBC Departmental Archives 93-48, UBC Department of Economics, 1993.
[link to paper not available.]


Published as:

The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach.
(with Stephen R. G. Jones)
Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 147-162, January; 1999.
[link to paper not available.]

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PUBLISHED ARTICLES

This study investigates the causal effects of education on individuals' transitions between employment and unemployment, with particular focus on the extent to which education improves re-employment outcomes among unemployed workers. Given that positive correlations between education and labour force transitions are likely to be confounded by the endogeneity of education, we make use of data on compulsory schooling laws and child labour laws as well as conscription risk in the Vietnam War period to create instrumental variables to identify the causal relationships. Results indicate that education significantly increases re-employment rates of the unemployed. Particularly large impacts are found in the neighborhoods of 12 and 16 years of schooling. Evidence on the impact of formal schooling on unemployment incidence is mixed.

[go to paper]

We examine the evolution of the returns to human capital in Canada over the period 1980-2005. Our main finding is that returns to education increased substantially for Canadian men, contrary to conclusions reached previously. Most of this rise took place in the early 1980s and since 1995. Returns to education also rose, albeit more modestly, for Canadian women. Another important development is that after years of expansion, the wage gap between younger and older workers stabilized after 1995. Controlling for work experience and using Canadian Census data appear to account for the main differences between our results and earlier findings.

[go to paper]


Other versions:

The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2006.
(with Boudarbat, Brahim and Lemieux, Thomas)
UBC Departmental Archives craig_riddell-2008-15, UBC Department of Economics, 2008, revised 22 Oct 2008.
[link to paper not available.]
The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2005.
(with Boudarbat, Brahim and Lemieux, Thomas)
CLSRN Working Papers clsrn_admin-2010-2, UBC Department of Economics, 2010, revised 30 Jan 2010.
[go to paper]
The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980 - 2006.
(with Boudarbat, Brahim and Lemieux, Thomas)
CLSRN Working Papers clsrn_admin-2009-8, UBC Department of Economics, 2009, revised 02 Feb 2009.
[go to paper]
The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2005.
(with Boudarbat, Brahim and Lemieux, Thomas)
IZA Discussion Papers 4809, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), 2010.
[go to paper]

Using 1981 to 2001 Census data, we study how the human capital of immigrants is rewarded in Canada. We distinguish between years of schooling and degrees obtained in order to estimate `sheepskin' effects - the gain in earnings associated with receipt of a degree, controlling for years of schooling. We find that immigrant years of schooling and immigrant work experience accumulated before arrival is valued much less than Canadian experience of comparable natives. However, for immigrants the increase in earnings associated with completing educational programs is generally higher than that of comparable natives. We provide both signalling and human capital interpretations of this finding.

[go to paper]

The determination of how to distinguish between unemployment and nonparticipation is important and controversial. The conventional approach employs a priori reasoning together with self-reported current behavior. This paper employs an evidence-based classification of labor force status using information about the consequences of the behavior of the nonemployed. We find that marginal attachment-defined as desiring work, although not searching-is a distinct labor market state, lying between those who do not desire work and the unemployed. Furthermore, important heterogeneities exist within these nonemployment states. Two subsets of nonparticipants-both engaged in waiting-display behavior similar to the unemployed. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

[go to paper]


Other versions:

Unemployment and Non-Employment: Heterogeneities in Labour Market States.
(with Stephen R. G Jones)
Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-05, McMaster University, 2002.
[go to paper]

We examine the impact of literacy on immigrant earnings and the sources of lower returns to education and experience among immigrants. We find that the native-born literacy distribution dominates that for immigrants. However, the two groups obtain similar returns to literacy skills, contrary to discrimination-based explanations for immigrant—native-born earnings differentials. Among the university-educated, literacy differences account for about two-thirds of the earnings gap. However, low returns to foreign experience have a larger impact on this differential. Among the less educated, literacy differences and differences in the returns to experience have similar effects on the earnings differential.

[go to paper]

We study the role of credentials or "sheepskin effects" in the Canadian labour market. Sheepskin effects refer to increases in wages associated with the receipt of a degree after controlling for educational inputs such as years of schooling. We find strong evidence of sheepskin effects associated with graduation from high school, community college or trade school, and university. The importance of credentials increases with educational attainment, accounting for 30 per cent of the return to 16 years of schooling but more than half of returns above 16 years. Our evidence indicates that both years of schooling and degree completion influence earnings.

[go to paper]

This paper surveys recent research on how to measure labour market activities such as unemployment and labour force participation. The conventional approach to distinguishing between unemployment and non-participation is to use a priori reasoning and self-reported survey responses about current activities, specifically availability for work and job search. In contrast, the research surveyed here employs evidence on the subsequent consequences of current activities, in particular on transitions among labour force states. This general approach appears to be a promising method for bringing evidence to bear on these difficult measurement issues.

[go to paper]


Other versions:

Measuring Unemployment and Structural Unemployment.
Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 34, McMaster University.
[go to paper]
Measuring Unemployment and Structural Unmeployment.
UBC Departmental Archives 99-21, UBC Department of Economics. 1999.
[link to paper not available.]

Although the unemployment rate is one of the most widely cited and closely monitored economic statistics, the definition and measurement of unemployment remain controversial. An important issue is whether non-employed persons who display a marginal attachment to the labor force (for example, those who are available for and desire work but are not searching for work) should be classified as unemployed or non-participants. Although this issue has been extensively debated, it has never been tested empirically. This paper carries out empirical tests of this and related hypotheses using a unique longitudinal data set from Canada. We find within the marginally attached a "waiting" group whose behavior indicates that they would be more appropriately classified as unemployed rather than out-of-the-labor force. The remainder of the marginally attached exhibit behavior between that of the unemployed and the balance of non-participants, suggesting that the desire for work among non-searchers conveys substantial information about labor force attachment and future employment status. Our methods also apply to heterogeneity within the unemployed, and we investigate behavioral variation linked to differences in job search methods and reasons for entry into unemployment. Although those using "passive" job search do exhibit behavior somewhat distinct from "active" searchers, our results reject the practice of classifying passive job searchers as out-of-the-labor force. Overall, our results indicate that the non-employed are very heterogeneous, so that any single division into "unemployment" and "out-of-the-labor force" is unlikely to fully capture the variety of degrees of labor force attachment.

link to paper not available.


Other versions:


The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach.
(with Jones, S.R.G.)
UBC Departmental Archives 93-48, UBC Department of Economics, 1993.
[link to paper not available]
The Measurement Of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach.
(with Stephen R. G. Jones)
Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 09, McMaster University.
[go to paper]

This article provides an introduction to the volume on the Canada-US umemployment rate gap. It is divided into three parts. The first examines comparative labour market trends in Canada and the United States. The second reviews the factors that have been advanced to explain the gap, categorizing explanations into three types: measurement issues, demand-side or cyclical explanations, and supply-side or structural explanations. The third section summarizes the contribution of the papers in the volume. A key conclusion is that the gap of the 1980s and the further widening of the gap in the 1990s appear to have fundamentally different underlying causes. The gap of the 1980s is principally due to a relative change in how Canadians and Americans spend their time when not working. The widening of the gap in the 1990s is due to much weaker aggregate economic growth in Canada.

[go to paper]

Little is known about the effect of unemployment insurance on employment durations. In this paper, the authors take advantage of a unique accidental experiment in the Canadian unemployment insurance system which created an exogenous increase in the entrance requirement (the number of weeks an individual must work to qualify for benefits) of up to four weeks in some regions. The authors identify the effects of this increase primarily by comparing the hazard rate out of employment for the experimental year, 1990, with that for the preceding year in regions where other parameters of the unemployment insurance system do not change. Copyright 1997 by Royal Economic Society.

[go to paper]


Other versions:

Qualifying for Unemployment Insurance: An Empirical Analysis.
UBC Departmental Archives 93-33, UBC Department of Economics, 1993.
[link to paper not available.]

This article explores the measurement of labor force dynamics using longitudinal data, focusing in particular on the Canadian Labour Market Activity Survey (LMAS), which represents a potential advance in longitudinal data collection because it measures aspects of dynamics not available in existing panel data such as the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the National Longitudinal Survey. The authors examine the implications of the LMAS questionnaire structure--the LMAS filter--for the study of labor market dynamics and undertake simulations to provide a quantitative assessment of the importance of this filter for labor force spells and transitions between labor force states. Copyright 1995 by University of Chicago Press.

[go to paper]

The impact of unionization on male-female earnings differences in Canada is analyzed using data spanning 1981 to 1988, a period in which the male-female unionization gap narrowed considerably. Gender differences in union density, union wages, and nonunion wages are decomposed into characteristics-related and discriminatory components. We find that the drop in the gender unionization gap prevented an increase of 7 percent in the overall wage differential between men and women. Also, male-female earnings differences in the nonunion sector make a substantially larger contribution to the gender earnings gap than do those in the union sector.

[go to paper]


Other versions:

The Impact of Unionization on Male-Female Earnings Differences in Canada.
(with Doiron, D.J.)
UBC Departmental Archives 92-30, UBC Department of Economics, 1992.
[link to paper not available.]

This article provides an overview of the Canadian unemployment insurance program, including its evolution, salient features, relative size, and knowledge about its labor-market impacts. Understanding of these impacts is limited and the authors conclude that an event-study approach is a promising way to further this knowledge. They examine the effects of the 1976 unemployment insurance disentitlement of the elderly on their labor-force behavior and find evidence of significant adverse selection effects. Interactions with the public pension system suggest that poverty among the elderly could be best addressed through changes in programs other than unemployment insurance. Copyright 1993 by University of Chicago Press.

[go to paper]


Other versions:

The Economic Effects of Unemployment Insurance in Canada: An Empirical Analysis of UI Disentitlement.
(with Green, D.A.)
UBC Departmental Archives 92-15, UBC Department of Economics, 1992.
[link to paper not available]

This paper discusses the design, implementation and administration of comparable worth legislation in Canada, focusing particular attention on the potential of comparable worth to close the male-female earnings gap. The authors document the Canadian legislative initiatives, provide illustrative evidence on the impact of comparable worth, and identify the main policy lessons to be learned from the experience of Canada, where the comparable worth concept has evolved furthest. Copyright 1992 Western Economic Association International.

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CHAPTERS IN BOOKS

The skills issue is currently at or near the top of the federal government’s policy agenda, given its importance for harnessing the benefits of technological advances. Policy initiatives in the area should be premised on an accurate assessment of Canada’s recent experience in education and skill formation. In his paper, W. Craig Riddell attempts such an assessment. He provides a careful examination of trends in education expenditures and outcomes in Canada compared to other countries, looks at trends in the incidence of education, and analyzes the link between education and labour market success. Riddell’s overall assessment of Canada’s record in education and skills is quite positive. He finds that relative to other OECD countries, Canada ranks near the top in terms of expenditure per student and share of GDP devoted to elementary, secondary and post-secondary education; that Canada’s population is well educated by international standards, with the highest proportion of the population with non-university, post-secondary education in the OECD; and that the country’s literacy skills, particularly for the young and well educated, are above average among the G7 countries that participated in the International Adult Literacy Survey. One possible weakness he identifies is the relatively low student achievement in mathematics among the G7 countries that participated in the standardized tests. This suggests Canada may not be obtaining good “value for money” from its relatively high expenditure on education. Riddell notes that the conventional estimates of the return to education appear downward biased so that the causal effect of education on earnings may be higher than previously believed. Evidence suggests that the marginal return to incremental investment in education exceeds the average from previous investments and that there is no evidence that investments in schooling are running into diminishing returns. Riddell concludes that investments in human capital remain an important potential source of economic growth and equality of opportunity.

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[go to paper]


Other versions:

A Comparative Analysis of Unemployment in Canada and the United States.
(with David Card)
Working Papers 677, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section, 1992.
[link to paper not available]

[go to paper]


Other versions:

Unionization in Canada and the United States: A Tale of Two Countries.
UBC Departmental Archives 92-37, UBC Department of Economics, 1992.
[link to paper not available]
Unionization in Canada and the United States: A Tale of Two Countries.
Papers 1993-1, Queen's at Kingston - Sch. of Indus. Relat. Papers in Industrial Relations, 1993.
[link to paper not available]

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As Academic Director of the Canadian Labour Market and Skills Research Network (CLSRN), I am involved in organizing conferences, workshops, and summer schools on labour market topics. Information on upcoming events is available here http://www.clsrn.econ.ubc.ca/events.php.