Public policy studies are the stock-in-trade of the Institute. Our studies are academically-rigorous examinations of important policy questions in Atlantic Canada, covering our wide range of research interests and receiving many awards for their scholarship and impact. All research papers meet academic standards for peer review and advance the public policy discussion in the region. Find below an archive of our policy studies.
What’s Still Missing from Your Wallet by Marco Navarro- Génie is an analysis that returns to a previous study done in 2009, in which the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies examined the adverse effects of gasoline price regulation in Atlantic Canada. Just as What’s Missing from Your Wallet proved, this current study demonstrates how controlling prices are not economically useful: these regulations create market distortions, add external costs and promotes the notion that government policies should adhere to popular demand rather than economic evidence. Navarro-Génie argues for the case against price control in this updated study, as the empirical evidence ... Visit the Study Page
Legislating further increases to the minimum wage would likely worsen youth unemployment in Atlantic Canada. Evidence shows that minimum wages price low-skilled persons out of work and reduce the opportunity for training and experience among young people. Given these effects, raising the wage floor is bad policy. New research published by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) examines minimum wage legislation in Atlantic Canada. Authors Matthew Lau and Marco Navarro-Génie find that the Maritime Provinces have a higher-than-average proportion of workers earning wages at or near the existing minimum wage. The ratio of the minimum wage to the median ... Visit the Study Page
All Canadian provinces face mounting health expenditures, owing in part to the cost of tobacco smoking. Yet, tobacco sold on First Nations reserves is not subject to taxes, unlike off-reserve purchases. Even though exemptions are not enshrined in the constitution or in any treaty with aboriginals, they are a loophole in the tax system. According to a new research paper, led by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) and co-published with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP), the value of the tobacco exemption for First Nations reserves across Canada is $686-million. Author Lee Harding estimates that the cost ... Visit the Study Page
The Benefits of Trade examines the economic argument for free trade, with an emphasis on the importance of trade for Canadian provinces. The author discusses international, interprovincial, and local trading relationships, explaining the benefits of free exchange for all three types. He argues that a major factor in the benefits of free trade lies in comparative advantage, whereby producers create the goods they are best suited to make and interact with consumers on a voluntary basis. Protectionism, by contrast, implies that a jurisdiction should produce and consume its own goods despite the higher cost that this requires. The author explains ... Visit the Study Page
Household Savings in Atlantic Canada, 1981-2015 discusses a low rate of household savings by Maritimers. While New Brunswick has an improved savings rate from the previous decade (following a modest upturn throughout Canada), Prince Edward Island’s household savings have remained constant. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia’s have worsened, with an average annual savings deficit of over $1,000. In the 1980s, the average Maritimer saved about $1,300 every year, or 14 percent of his or her disposable income. Today, Maritimers are in "dis-saving" territory: households from 2011 to 2015 spent $406 more, per year, than they saved, including pension contributions. The research paper ... Visit the Study Page