Bank of Canada Review - Autumn 2008

Autumn 2008
Available as: PDF

Cover page

Leonard C. Wyon: Canada’s Victorian Engraver

Photography by Gord Carter

September 15, 2008

The Bank of Canada's Senior Loan Officer Survey

The Bank of Canada maintains regular contact with financial institutions as part of the information-gathering process that feeds into the larger set of information used to arrive at its monetary policy decision. Since 1999, the Bank has been conducting a quarterly survey of the business-lending practices of major Canadian financial institutions. Analysis of the information collected shows that it is correlated with future growth in both credit and business investment. This article focuses on how the survey is conducted and describes the construction of the summary statistics, highlighting the key statistical relationships in the historical survey data.
September 15, 2008

The Effects of Recent Relative Price Movements on the Canadian Economy

Although the standard of living of Canadians has improved as a result of terms-of-trade gains created by the sharp rise in real commodity prices over the past five years or so, the commodity-price increase, combined with an exchange rate appreciation and real income gain, triggered structural adjustments by altering underlying economic incentives. The frictions generated in adjusting to the relative price shock have likely contributed to hold back aggregate productivity growth. Dupuis and Marcil examine the structural adjustments that have been required-in particular, the resource reallocation among the different sectors of the economy-and its effects on employment, output, and productivity, as well as the responses of final domestic demand and external trade flows.
September 15, 2008

Adjusting to the Commodity-Price Boom: The Experiences of Four Industrialized Countries

Between 2002 and 2008, global commodity prices rose to unprecedented levels. This article examines the process of adjustment to the commodity boom in four industrialized, commodity-exporting countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Norway). The article focuses on both the direct adjustment within the commodity-producing sectors (via increased employment and capital spending) and the indirect adjustment in the macro economy. The analysis finds that the indirect adjustment process, which was triggered by the increase in incomes that the commodity-price boom generated, has been the most important part of the adjustment in all four economies. Through this channel, aggregate demand rose, exchange rates appreciated, and adjustment was facilitated in other sectors, such as manufacturing and construction.
September 15, 2008

Offshoring and Its Effects on the Labour Market and Productivity: A Survey of Recent Literature

Offshoring has become an increasingly prominent aspect of the globalization process. Evidence over the past two decades suggests that offshoring has not exerted a noticeable impact on overall employment and earnings growth in advanced economies, but it has likely contributed to shifting the demand for labour towards higher-skilled jobs. There appear to be some positive effects of offshoring on productivity, but such effects differ by country.
September 15, 2008

Productivity in Canada: Does Firm Size Matter?

The research findings highlighted in this article suggest that firm-size differences play a significant role in explaining the productivity gap between Canada and the United States. The authors review factors that lead to a positive relationship between productivity and size and then look at Canadian evidence of this relationship at the firm level. They quantify the extent to which the change in Canadian productivity as well as the Canada-U.S. productivity differences can be accounted for by the change in the importance of large firms and identify several factors that play a role in determining average firm size and aggregate productivity.