Income Inequality: The Canadian Story

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Publication date:  February 2016

Editors: David A. Green, W. Craig Riddell, France St-Hilaire
Page length: 558

Rising income inequality has been at the forefront of public debate in Canada in recent years, yet there is still much to be learned about the economic forces driving the distribution of earnings and income in this country and how they might evolve in coming years. With research showing that the tax-and-transfer system is less effective than in the past in counteracting growing income disparities, the need for policy-makers to understand the factors at play is all the more urgent.

 The Institute for Research on Public Policy, in collaboration with the Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network, has gathered some of the country’s leading experts to provide new evidence on the causes and effects of rising income inequality in Canada and to consider the role of policy. Their research and analysis constitutes a comprehensive review of Canadian inequality trends in recent decades, including changing earnings and income dynamics among middle--class and top earners, wage and job polarization across provinces, and persistent poverty among vulnerable groups. The authors also examine the changing role of education and unionization, as well as the complex interplay of redistributive policies and politics, in order to propose new directions for policy. Amid growing anxieties about the economic prospects of the middle class, Income Inequality: The Canadian Story will inform the public discourse on this issue of central concern for all Canadians.  

“Building societies that are prosperous but also share that prosperity equitably is a paramount challenge of our time. To meet that challenge we need to understand, first, the factors that have caused the rise in income inequality over the past several decades and, second, which policies have and have not worked so far. This book provides a thorough analysis of inequality trends in Canada, including the underlying patterns and policy responses. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the disturbing trends in inequality in Canada — and, indeed, around the world — as well as what might be done about it.”
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate, Columbia University

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