September 15, 2008 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.
June 17, 2008 In this article, the authors build on the framework used in the Bank of Canada's Financial System Review to assess the evolution of household indebtedness and financial vulnerabilities in response to changing economic conditions. To achieve this, they first compare two microdata sets generated by Ipsos Reid's Canadian Financial Monitor and Statistics Canada's Survey of Financial Security. They find that the surveys are broadly comparable, despite methodological differences. This enables them to use the combined information content for the identification of the threshold value of the debt-service ratio (DSR). The article then presents an innovative framework that uses household-level microdata to simulate changes in the distribution of the DSR under various stress scenarios. The authors show how this framework can be used by analyzing the effects of two different scenarios on the distribution of the debt-service ratio and the impact on vulnerable households. This tool will enable researchers to refine their analyses of current risks to the financial health of Canadian households. The article concludes with comments on future directions for refining the Bank's analyses of household sector risk.