Statistics Canada Crowdsources Cannabis Prices

By Allan W. Gregory and Eliane Hamel Barker, Queen’s University

Statistics Canada recently took up the difficult challenge of finding out what Canadians pay for their cannabis both medically (licensed and unlicensed) and recreationally. Currently only licensed use of medical cannabis (both dried and oil) is legal to purchase from licensed producers under Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). One reason governments are so interested in the street price of cannabis is the legalization of marijuana for recreational use due sometime this summer. The thinking is that legal marijuana prices must not be greater than those on the street; otherwise black markets will continue to flourish.

Statistics Canada is not new to the survey business and have in the past attempted to price cannabis and quantities smoked. However, in their most recent effort, a novel feature was using crowdsourcing on a web site survey to gather the data. Statistics Canada understood that there was a selectivity or participation problem in such a methodology but decided this was the best approach possible. We agree with this decision. Since cannabis was soon to be legalized for recreational use and no special personal identifiers were asked, the participating decision should not be associated with either positive (higher price) or negative (lower price) bias.Read More »

Citizenship: Signaling Tool from Immigrants to Employers

By Isabella Mira, Queen’s Law & Economics

Canada is a country built by immigrants. It is known for its multiculturalist approach to welcoming these newcomers and uses a points system to select immigrants. This method of screening has received much praise from economists and policy-makers alike for its ability to identify applicants that will answer the varying demands of the labor market. As an immigrant myself, this initial description is both reassuring and inspiring.

Yet a component often forgotten is that attracting and screening immigrants is only half the battle. Once they arrive, it is just as important to ensure immigrants’ skills and assets are properly integrated into the labour market and the Canadian economy.  Reports on Canada’s immigration policy reflects this gap in analysis by offering both positive and negative accounts of immigrant success in Canada. Statistics and articles such as OECD report a positive picture by stating that employment of foreign-born Canadian citizens has increased since 2008, and in 2012 Canada had the third highest employment rate for immigrants among the OECD member countries (Canada, 2014). In sharp contrast, articles by Ley and Smith (2008) discuss extensive immigrant poverty in gateway cities, Bloemraad (2006) speaks to non-economic factors such as possession of cultural knowledge as barriers to immigrant success, and Derwing et al. (2000) present the now-familiar issue of foreign credential recognition. These conflicting accounts invite questions as to the true success of Canada’s immigration policy.

In my M.A. essay, I propose an approach to reconcile these different accounts of immigrant labour market integration. I posit that the decision to ascend to citizenship acts as a signaling tool for employers.Read More »

Why is the Canadian dollar a commodity currency?

By Gregor Smith, Queen’s University

The Canadian dollar (CAD) often is described as a ‘commodity currency’ or even as a ‘petrocurrency’.   The correlation between commodity prices and the value of the CAD features in daily commentary but you can see it in data at any frequency.

The figure below shows monthly data for the CAD/USD exchange rate along with the Bank of Canada’s commodity price index (reported in real USD) over the past thirty years.  Clearly, these two things tend to move together.Read More »

What can we Learn from Historical Economic and Financial Crises?

These notes form a short extract from the forthcoming monograph by John Crean and Frank Milne, The Anatomy of Systemic Risk, (2017a); and a shorter working paper, The Foundations of Systemic Risk (2017b).

By Frank Milne, Queen’s University

There are many historical financial crises that resemble the recent crisis of 2007-9. Crean and Milne provide a summary of various banking crises, discuss their similarities, provide a theory integrating their observations and examine the implications for Risk Management systems and financial regulation.

Here we will restrict our discussion to two major banking crises that should be of interest for Canadians. There are clear parallels with current Canadian banking and regulatory risks. We will draw some conclusions that are supported by the Crean-Milne framework.

The first example is the Australian Banking Crisis of the 1890s, and the second example is the Texas Banking Crisis of 1980-89.Read More »

Do longer license suspensions decrease impaired driving?

By Dayna Bartlett, Queen’s Economics M.A. student

In 2015, according to Statistics Canada, there were 72,039 police reported impaired driving incidents and 122 of those leading to death. Further, MADD Canada reports that on average, four people are killed daily by alcohol-related or drug-related traffic collisions. It is, therefore, no surprise that the concern regarding impaired driving is a subject that has continued to bring a range of heartaches and considerable debate. As it has been and remains one of the leading causes of death in Canada, there has been a great deal of research conducted, policies proposed, and laws implemented in the attempt to reduce the fatal collisions arising from impaired driving.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, an individual is considered impaired and is subject to criminal charges if they drive while having consumed an amount of alcohol in which their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level exceeds the legal limit of 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood. In addition to the per se legal limit set by the Criminal Code of Canada, different provinces have also implemented warn ranges, in which penalties and sanctions may be applied even if an individual is driving below the 0.08 legal limit. One of the more recent laws that has been adopted by most Canadian provinces aimed to deter drunk driving are longer license suspensions that offenders face if found driving with BAC levels between 0.05 and 0.08.  Specifically, license suspensions have recently increased for first-time offenders past the initial 24-hour period to a minimum of 3 days, and even longer in certain jurisdictions.Read More »

Economic historian Frank Lewis retires after 44 years at Queen’s

By Nora Ottenhof, JDI undergraduate research assistant

After 44 years at Queen’s University, economic historian Frank Lewis has retired. Prof. Lewis has contributed immeasurably to the Queen’s University community through both his groundbreaking research and passionate teaching style. His research legacy has provided countless insights into First Nations economies in Canada, the fur trade, slavery, and migration, among many other topics.

Throughout his career, Lewis has devoted a great deal of time to the study of trading between First Nations people and European colonizers. Lewis’s 2010 book Commerce by a Frozen Sea, written in partnership with Ann Carlos, delves deeply into the subject matter and is what Lewis considers his greatest professional accomplishment. As Lewis explains, the goal of this research was to understand the exact nature of this relationship. Such questions were posed as: Was the correspondence strictly commercial? Who had the bargaining power and by what degree? How did both the Europeans and First Nations people respond to changes in the market given their limited access to information?Read More »

Canadian Public Economic Group to meet at Queen’s

By Nora Ottenhof, JDI undergraduate research assistant

The 2017 Canadian Public Economic Group Meeting (CPEG2017) will take place on the Queen’s University campus in Kingston on November 2 – 4. This year’s meetings are being hosted by the John Deutsch Institute (JDI) and the Department of Economics. “We are very excited for the conference, which will feature presentations by some of the leading public economists in Canada,” said Dr. Christopher Cotton, the conference organizer and the Director of the JDI.

For more information on the conference, see the CPEG website.

Here, I review a handful of the papers that will be presented and discussed during this year’s conference.Read More »

How financial illiteracy affects mortgage rates, and how we can help

Queen’s PhD candidate and JDI Student Fellow, Jenny Watt, discusses research presented at the Joint Bank of Canada-John Deutsch Institute Workshop on Financial Intermediation and Regulation. 

By Jenny Watt, JDI Fellow

Andrea Pozzi of the Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance recently presented research on the consequences of financial illiteracy on mortgage rates. Using data containing 90% of Italian mortgages, he and his co-authors show that not only do consumers who are susceptible to bad advice from banks pay higher rates—their presence in the market causes higher rates for all consumers.Read More »

Medical marijuana in Canada: Some data and a pricing equation

By Allan W. Gregory, Queen’s University

Licensed medical cannabis use in Canada has grown considerably in the last two years. From Health Canada’s website, we can measure the size of this market over a period of more than two years (Q1 2015 – Q1 2017). Figure 1 shows the growth in both the dried and oil cannabis.

Figure 1AG1

 

Not only are sales of dry marijuana growing (just under 6000 kgs in Q1 2017) but the inventories are increasing at an even faster rate (currently over 18,000 kgs). Oil cannabis has had a steady increase as well over the period it has been recorded (starting in Q4 2015).Read More »

How we decided on 2% fiscal stimulus during the Great Recession

 

StephenSnudden
Stephen Snudden

JDI Student Fellow Stephen Snudden offers his insights into the internationally coordinated effort to combat the Great Recession following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. At the time he was a Research Assistant at the Bank of Canada and has also served as a Project Officer for the International Monetary Fund.  He is currently a PhD Candidate and in the Department of Economics at Queen’s University. 

 

By Stephen Snudden, Queen’s University

A 2% fiscal stimuli to combat the Great Recession

It was October 7th 2008. Lehman Brothers had just collapsed in mid-September and seemingly taken the global economy with it. Markets were in hysteria. We needed to figure out what to do quickly.Read More »