Racing to the Bottom?
320 pages, 6 x 9
54 b&w illustrations, 8 tables
Release Date:01 Jul 2006
Release Date:05 Dec 2005
Release Date:01 Nov 2007

Racing to the Bottom?

Provincial Interdependence in the Canadian Federation

UBC Press

The spectre of a “race to the bottom” is increasingly prominent in debates about globalization and also within federal systems where the mobility of both capital and individuals prompts fears of interjurisdictional competition with respect to taxes and environmental and welfare standards. While there has been no shortage of either political rhetoric or academic theorizing on this subject, empirical studies have been in shorter supply. This volume seeks to fill that gap by asking: Are Canadian provinces engaged in a race to the bottom and, if so, what are the consequences?

The contributors apply insights from economics and political science to several policy fields. What emerges is a theoretical and empirical picture of interprovincial competition that shows it to be more complex than the popular image of a race to the bottom and that also contradicts predictions of an inexorable downward spiral.

This timely, practical volume will be of interest to public policy practitioners, as well as to students and scholars of economics and political science.

This book gives researchers the opportunity to understand how specialists in other disciplines and with different points of view understand the issue of provincial interdependence. A very important topic, of immediate concern to policy makers, written by well-known experts: a winning combination. Ron Kneebone, co-author of Past (In)Discretions: Federal and Provincial Fiscal Policy in Canada
Kathryn Harrison is associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, and author of Passing the Buck: Federalism and Canadian Environmental Policy.

Figures and Tables / vii

Acknowledgments / xi


1 Provincial Interdependence: Concepts and Theories / 1 Kathryn Harrison

2 A Race to the Bottom in Provincial Business Taxation in Canada? / 25 Kenneth J. McKenzie

3 Still in the Game: Efforts to Govern Economic Development Competition in Canada / 49 Douglas M. Brown

4 Follow the Leader and Dominoes: Games that Provinces Play in Tobacco Taxation / 73 Kathryn Harrison

5 Environmental Policy in Canada: Harmonized at the Bottom? / 113 Nancy Olewiler

6 Slouching toward the Bottom? Provincial Social Assistance Provision in Canada, 1980-2000 / 157 Gerard W. Boychuk

7 Races to the Bottom versus Races to the Middle: Minimum Wage Setting in Canada / 193 David A. Green and Kathryn Harrison

8 Policy Races in the American States / 229 Mark Carl Rom

9 Are Canadian Provinces Engaged in a Race to the Bottom? Evidence and Implications / 257 Kathryn Harrison


Works Cited / 271

Contributors / 291

Index / 293

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