Canada has experienced drastic changes in its economy during the global financial crisis. This Selected Issues paper discusses the evolution of equilibrium real home prices in key Canadian provinces in the post-crisis period, Canadian dollar movement during and after the global financial turmoil in line with other world currencies, assessment of impacts on Canada’s potential growth, development of Canadian automotive sector—namely, NAFTA partners during the crisis, and the role of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in Canada’s housing market.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue of Finance & Development discusses need of empowering women, which is critical for the world’s economy and people. Unequal or unfair treatment can marginalize women and hinder their participation as productive individuals contributing to society and the economy in invaluable ways. The rich tapestry of organizations and individuals who can make a difference to ensure women have equal opportunities; there is a crucial role for policymakers. They can use their positions to design policies that help women and girls’ access what they need for a fulfilling life—including education, health services, safe transportation, legal protection against harassment, finance, and flexible working arrangements. The IMF recommends these kinds of policy measures to its member countries—and works with many governments to examine how policies affect women. The IMF’s 189 member countries face many different challenges, but empowering women remains a common denominator and a global imperative for all those who care about fairness and diversity, but also productivity and growth of societies and economies that are more inclusive.
Bengt Petersson, Rodrigo Mariscal, and Kotaro Ishi
How important are female workers for economic growth? This paper presents empirical evidence that an increase in female labor force participation is positively associated with labor productivity growth. Using panel data for 10 Canadian provinces over 1990–2015, we found that a 1 percentage point increase in the labor force participation among women with high educational attainment would raise Canada’s overall labor productivity growth by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage point a year. This suggests that if the current gap of 7 percentage points between male and female labor force participation with high educational attainment were eliminated, the level of real GDP could be about 4 percent higher today. The government has appropriately stepped up its efforts to improve gender equality, as part of its growth strategy. In particular, the government’s plan to expand access to affordable child care is a positive step. However, we argue that to maximize the policy outcome given a budget constraint, provision of subsidized child care—including publicly funded child care spaces—should be better targeted to working parents.
This paper analyzes the role of the tax and benefit system in spurring the impressive increase in Canadian female labor participation in the last decade. Using annual panel data for 10 large industrial countries over the period 1980-2001, I find that reforms in the Canadian tax and benefit system in the mid-1990s account for at least one-third of the observed increase in female participation in the period 1995-2001. The analysis indicates that policy initiatives similar to the "family-friendly" policies introduced in Canada could boost female participation in other countries and help policymakers meet the challenges of population aging.
This study investigates the impact of the current financial crisis on Canada's potential GDP growth. Using a simple accounting framework to decompose trend GDP growth into changes in capital, labor services and total factor productivity, we find a sizeable drop in Canadian potential growth in the short term. The estimated decline of about 1 percentage point originates from a sharply decelerating capital stock accumulation (as investment has dropped steeply) and a rising long-term unemployment rate (which would raise equilibrium unemployment rates). However, over the medium term, we expect Canada's potential GDP growth to gradually rise to around 2 percent, below the pre-crisis growth rate, mostly reflecting the effects of population aging and a secular decline in average working hours.
The government’s strong monetary and fiscal policy framework, as well as the structural reforms introduced, have enabled the Canadian economy to respond flexibly to recent shocks and laid a solid foundation for recovery. Macroeconomic policies should remain supportive, with fiscal policy continuing to focus on sustained debt reduction and structural reforms geared toward boosting productivity. Canada’s commitment to exchange rate flexibility has been helpful in facilitating the adjustment of global macroeconomic imbalances. Ensuring that regulatory and other policies support productivity, growth remains a key long-term challenge.