FACULTY RESEARCH

In addition to their rigorous classroom contributions, faculty from the Johnson-Shoyama School are devoted to their research and writing in order to make an impact on issues affecting health and social policy; science, technology and innovation; trade and transnational regulation; among others. Read on to discover the kinds of exciting research projects our faculty are presently involved in.

The State of Saskatchewan Cities - Most people think of Saskatchewan as a rural province both in terms of its economy and its people. Clearly, the roots of the province reflect its agricultural heritage and the strong growth in natural resource activity that started in the 1970s. This report provides a description of the major population centres in Saskatchewan to see if the persistent views of the province’s economic structure, held as strongly within the province as they are outside the province, are true. Saskatchewan cities are examined on a broad range of demographic and socio-economic measures relative to the rest of the province and relative to cities in the neighbouring provinces to see if there are new or emerging trends in Saskatchewan cities and whether their role in the province has changed or needs to be reconsidered.

The report was commissioned by the Regina Regional Opportunities Corporation and Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Corporation at the suggestion of the Saskatchewan Institute of Certified Management Consultants.

Evolution of Public Health Care in Canada - A universal, single-payer system for hospital and primary physician care services is one of the defining social policies of Canada. Canada Research Chair Greg Marchildon's research is focused on different provincial experiments and models in the early stages of hospitalization and medicare, and the factors that produced what is now recognized as the Canadian model of public health care. This research will result in a series of journal articles, and an analytical survey of the Canadian Health Care System and recent reforms published by the European Observatory on Health Care Systems (World Health Organization) in 2005. In addition, a book manuscript on the history of Canadian Medicare is being prepared under the terms of an advance contract with the University of Toronto Press. The research is supported through the Canada Research Chair program and a two-year matching grant from Saskatchewan Industry and Resources.

Ideas, Interests, and Institutions: Fiscal Redistribution and Territorial Politics in Four Federal Systems - Daniel Béland, Canada Research Chair, in collaboration with André Lecours of the University of Ottawa, is investigating the politics of equalization in four federal systems: Australia, Spain, Switzerland and Canada.  The four countries show a strong contrast between two political outcomes. Fiscal redistribution between regions is highly contentious in Spain and in Canada, while in Australia and Switzerland, territorial transfers have proven less controversial. The research project raises two major questions: Why does the territorial redistribution of financial resources become a major political issue in some federal states while it remains much less controversial in others? When there is strong politicization, how does it occur? The work is funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), 2008-2011.

Value Generation through Genomics (GE3LS project), co-lead by  Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle (University of Ottawa). This $5.4 million project focuses on three important factors for removing roadblocks to innovation in Canada's bio-based economy. These factors include: (1) examining the role of intellectual property, (2) studying new ways of regulating important new agricultural technologies and products, and (3) adapting and testing a range of engagement tools with the Canadian public to determine their interests, fears and attitudes concerning new technologies. For more information on the VALGEN project, please click here.

Business culture and tax evasion: Why corruption and the unofficial economy can persist - Why would a successful company like Enron jeopardize its future by engaging in accounting fraud? After Enron's public fall, why would other companies emulate its practices?  In a new academic work investigating cheating (such as tax evasion) and corruption (such as bribes paid to tax inspectors), co-authors Murray Fulton and Monika Cule show why creating a non-corrupt society is so difficult for policy makers: cheating and corruption breed more cheating and corruption. As more people engage in these activities, the moral cost of this behaviour falls, which encourages greater engagement. And when cheating is rife, stiffer fines have a perverse effect: cheating actually increases. Higher fines mean a greater benefit for tax inspectors, who thereby encourage more cheating. Fulton and Cule conclude - among other things -- that governments must be seen to be fair and even-handed, particularly in tax collection, to avoid the economically devastating pitfalls associated with corruption, black markets and tax evasion.

Wait Times For Public Health Care: A Political Economy Analysis - Haizhen Mou uses a unique political economy framework to evaluate the boundary between public care and private care in a mixed health care system. The main differences between public and private systems  are that wait times are longer in the former, but that citizens must pay for basic health services in the latter. Haizhen's investigation shows that voters' preferences for public or private care vary based on age, health status and income.  However, while actual wait times are affected by demographics, they are independent of income distribution and political influence, which affect only individual tax-transfer rates. Haizhen is also working on a related evaluation of private-public health expenditures in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries since 1980. Her results indicate that not only demographics and income determine the mix of public-private funding, but so do the ideological views of a country's citizens.

Learning Violence Young - Economist Lihui Zhang is currently preparing a quantitative analysis of crime and delinquency in children and youth. Her particular socioeconomic approach is a rarity in Canada, where most academics study the outcomes of issues, such as poverty,  in children's lives. In contrast, Lihui is evaluating the determinants behind criminal or delinquent behaviour in children and youth, essentially asking the question, why would they participate in criminal acts? Part of her research also involves an evaluation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and how changes to the act - which provided more leniency for very young offenders - increased the rate of mischief in Canada. Lihui hopes her research will inform future public policy, to change the lives of children and youth before they turn to crime and violence.