Over the past 20 years, there has been a major shift away from the use of paper-based retail payment instruments, such as cash and cheques, toward electronic means of payment, such as debit cards and credit cards. Recent Bank of Canada research on consumers’ choice of payment instruments indicates that cash is frequently used for transactions with low values because of its speed, ease of use and wide acceptance, while debit and credit cards are more commonly used for transactions with higher values because of perceived attributes such as safety and record keeping. While innovations in retail payments currently being introduced into the Canadian marketplace could lead to a further reduction in the use of cash over the longer term, the implications for the use of cash of some of the structural and regulatory developments under way are less clear.Topics: Bank notes; Econometric and statistical methods; Financial system regulation and policies; Payment clearing and settlement systems
This paper surveys recent developments in the theoretical and empirical literature on the economic implications of uncertainty about the longer-term outlook for inflation. In particular, the linkages between inflation, long-run inflation uncertainty, and aggregate economic activity in industrial economies have become considerably better understood during the past decade.Topics: Inflation: costs and benefits
In this article the author examines the effects that major changes in energy prices in recent years have had on inflation and on the pace of economic expansion. These are then compared with the effects of the oil-price shocks that occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Changes in the intensity of energy use are examined, as well as developments in Canada's merchandise trade surplus in energy commodities and products. The author also considers the effects that a monetary policy anchored to low and stable inflation could have on price-setting behaviour and thus on the pass-through of higher energy costs to core inflation in Canada and in other industrial countries.Topics: Business fluctuations and cycles
The authors examine the recent evolution of commodity prices. They discuss the factors behind the price declines that occurred between the summer of 1997 and the end of 1998, including the key supply factors and the drop in Asian demand caused by that region's concurrent financial and economic crisis. They then review the effects of the reduction in world commodity prices on economic activity in Canada. They point out that the depreciation of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar, together with the continued strength of the U.S. economy, has partly offset the negative effects on Canadian aggregate demand.Topics: Financial markets
Futurists have been speculating about the prospects for a cashless society for many years, and such predictions became more frequent following the introduction of "smart" cards—cards containing a computer chip—in the mid-1970s.Topics: Financial Institutions; Payment clearing and settlement systems; Recent economic and financial developments
The growth rates of both aggregate factor and labour productivity in Canada fell substantially during the period 1975-83. This paper examines this phenomenon and reviews a number of possible explanations for it. First, the productivity growth slowdown is examined at various levels of industry disaggregation. It is apparent from this analysis that the slowdown varied [...]Topics: Productivity