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Canadian Women Economists Committee / Comité des Femmes Économistes Canadiennes


Every semester, we feature new research papers by women economists in Canadian universities. Check out our 2023 winter papers!


Jingjing Xu, Western University, "The Welfare Effects of Social Insurance Reform in the Presence of Intergenerational Transfers"

Family support in the form of intergenerational transfers could serve as a substitute for the public transfer system, especially when the public safety net is weak. These intergenerational transfers could be impacted by changes in public insurance. Conversely, induced changes in family transfers could also impact the effectiveness of a public insurance program. What is the impact of social insurance reform on household welfare in the context of intergenerational transfers? This paper investigates this question by using an overlapping generations general equilibrium model where parents and their children are linked by intergenerational transfers. In the model, individuals differ in earnings ability and face idiosyncratic uninsurable income risk, health risk, and mortality risk. This paper calibrates the model to key features in the urban Chinese economy. Using this calibrated model, this paper finds that households on average experience a welfare gain from an increase in the social insurance benefits but that this effect differs across households conditional on their economic status. This paper then provides a decomposition of these welfare changes into three channels: a direct policy channel, an intergenerational-transfers channel, and a general equilibrium channel.


Jamie McCasland, University of British Columbia, "Are Small Firms Labor Constrained? Experimental Evidence from Ghana" (with Morgan Hardy)

We report the results of a field experiment that randomly placed unemployed young people as apprentices with small firms in Ghana, and included no cash subsidy to firms (or workers) beyond in-kind recruitment services. Treated firms experienced increases in firm size of approximately half a worker and firm profits of approximately 10% for each apprentice placement offered, documenting frictions to novice hiring. We interpret the program as providing a novel worker screening technology to firms, as (voluntary) worker participation included non-monetary application costs, echoing the widespread use of an entrance fee mechanism for hiring apprentices in the existing labor market.


Yishu Zeng, York University, "Derandomization of Persuasion Mechanisms"

We consider a setting where one sender can communicate with several privately informed receivers through a persuasion mechanism before the receivers play a game. We show that for any potentially randomized persuasion mechanism, under certain conditions, there is an effectively equivalent deterministic persuasion mechanism, and these two mechanisms have the same set of equilibria. We exhibit the usefulness of our result in two applications, where we apply our techniques to derandomize the mechanisms involved. Overall, this paper provides a rationale for the fact that persuasion mechanisms are often deterministic in practice.


Serena Canaan, Simon Fraser University, "Parental Leave, Household Specialization and Children’s Well-Being"

Many countries offer new parents long periods of paid leave. Proponents argue that parental leave programs can reduce gender gaps in the labor market and promote children’s well-being. In this paper, I show that lengthy leaves can instead work against these intended goals. Using a regression discontinuity design, I find that a 3-year expansion of paid leave in France increases household specialization by inducing mothers to exit the labor force and fathers to raise their work hours. The leave further harms children’s verbal development.


Laura Lasio, McGill University, "Collusion in the US Generic Drug Industry" (with Robert Clark and Christopher Fabiilli)

We study cartels that operated in the US generic drug industry, leveraging quarterly Medicaid data for the period 2011-2018 and a difference-in-differences approach comparing the evolution of prices of allegedly collusive drugs with a group of competitive control drugs. Our analysis highlights (i) the difficulty of establishing a suitable control group when collusion is pervasive,(ii) the importance of accounting for market structure changes when defining the control period,and (iii) the existence of across- and within-drug heterogeneity. We focus on six drug markets that were part of the expanded initial complaint and where there was no entry in the same class during the collusive period, permitting a clean measure of the causal impact of collusion on prices. Our most conservative estimates suggest that collusion led to price increases of be-tween 0% and 166% for each of the six drugs, and damages of between $0 and $3 million for the Medicaid market.


Ana Ferrer and Allison Mascella, University of Waterloo, "Immigrant Gaps in Parental Time Investments into Children’s Human Capital Activities"

Current and future well-being and economic prosperity of children depend in large part on the nuances of decisions made by parents with respect to familial resources, an important part of which regard the time spent in the company of children. We estimate differences in the time that immigrant and Canadian-born parents allocate to child-care activities relative to other activities using the time diaries from the General Social Survey. We find that mothers born abroad spend more time at work and less time in leisure but there is no significant difference in time devoted to household production or child service between them and Canadian-born mothers. Despite not finding differences by immigration status in the total care-time parents provide for their children, we do find significant differences - by immigrant status - in time specifically devoted to human capital investment activities with children: African, Asian, European and South-Central American mothers spend up to 30 more minutes daily in these activities than the Canadian born. We further assess the patterns of time use of second-generation young adults and find that they spend more time on education and homework compared to third generation or higher young adults. This supports a plausible effect of the time invested in children’s human capital generating activities by immigrant parents on their Canadian-born children.



Past papers

Heather Sarsons, University of British Columbia, "Flexible Wages, Bargaining, and the Gender Gap" (with Barbara Biasi)

Catherine Michaud-Leclerc, Université Laval, "Restricted access: How the internet can be used to promote reading and learning" (with Laura Derksen and Pedro C.L. Souza)

Laétitia Renée, Université de Montréal, "How to measure parenting styles?" (with Christopher Rauh)

Sara Rohany Tabatabai, Ryerson University, "International sourcing, complementary inputs, and the structure of trade agreements: Deep, shallow, narrow, and wide" (with Richard Chisik)

Eliane H. Barker, Queen's University, "The impact of hospital closures and mergers on patient welfare" (with Jenny Watt and Joan Tranmer)

Nazanin Behzadan, University of Prince Edward Island, "The Paradox of Transfers: Distribution and the Dutch Disease"

Doriane Intungane, University of Edmonton, "The Impact of Macroprudential Policies on the Transmission of Shocks across Financially Integrated Countries"

Marlène Koffi, University of Toronto, "Innovative Ideas and Gender Inequality"


If you have a current paper that you would like us to feature, contact us at