This Selected Issues paper reviews empirical evidence on the main determinants of the real bilateral exchange rate between the Canadian and the U.S. dollars, with particular emphasis on the role played by cyclical and longer-term economic factors. The paper aims to identify the nature of the shocks that have contributed to the recent downward trend in the Canadian dollar. The analysis shows that fluctuations in the real bilateral exchange rate can be explained reasonably well by its long-term fundamentals. The paper also analyzes inflation and the natural rate of unemployment in Canada.
The issue of productivity growth in Canada has received considerable attention reflecting its marked slowdown since the early 1970s and concerns about its implications for Canadian competitiveness. To better understand productivity developments in Canada, it is useful to decompose total factor productivity (TFP) into investment-specific productivity change (ISP) and technologically neutral productivity change (TNP). The gap in manufacturing productivity growth between Canada and the United States originates mostly in the strong performance of specific industries, such as electrical products and commercial and industrial machinery.
Inflation threatens to become a permanent fact in many economies. One result is that distortions arise in personal income tax systems. The author considers the desirability of schemes for automatically adjusting taxation to inflation.
Inflation affects individuals and income classes in many ways—as consumers, taxpayers, wage earners, savers, asset holders, lenders, borrowers, and so forth. Because of this multiplicity of influences, it is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to assess the total economic impact of inflation. For this reason, empirical studies have limited themselves to analyzing the impact of inflation on individuals or income classes in their roles as consumers, savers, or wage earners. This partial approach does not answer the question of whether the total impact of inflation is or is not beneficial to individuals in particular income classes, but it does provide interesting information that can be useful for policy purposes. This paper will follow this partial approach and analyze the impact of inflation on individuals in connection with the tax treatment of interest paid or received in the United States.