When it launched a new system for regularly announcing its decisions regarding the overnight rate of interest in December 2000, the Bank of Canada had a number of key objectives in mind. These included reduced uncertainty in financial markets, greater focus on the Canadian rather than the U.S. economic environment, more emphasis on the medium-term perspective of monetary policy, and increased transparency regarding the Bank's interest rate decisions.
Evidence to date suggests that all four objectives have been met to a substantial degree. Fixed announcement dates have provided regular opportunities for the Bank to communicate its views on the state of the Canadian economy to the public. This has helped to improve understanding of the broad direction of monetary policy and of the rationale behind the Bank's policy decisions although the decisions themselves are not always fully anticipated.
The way in which Canadian firms produce goods and services has changed dramatically during the 1990s. A major feature of this restructuring has been a shift towards greater use of capital goods, particularly computer-based technology, relative to labour in production processes.
The author examines this phenomenon from a macroeconomic perspective, identifying the principal factors behind the trends in investment and employment since the late 1980s. The analysis focusses on the relative costs of capital and labour over the period and on their implications for output and employment.