Date of Award

6-1978

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Geography

Supervisor

Dr. L.J. King

Co-Supervisor

Dr. M.J. Dear

Committee Member

Dr. A.A. Kubursi

Abstract

This study is concerned with analysing and evaluating the impact of Canadian macroeconomic policy upon regional unemployment disparities over the 1969-1976 period. To accomplish this task, three interrelated steps are undertaken. First an economic model is developed which seeks to help explain why macroeconomic policy may have variable regional impacts. The model emphasizes the role that regional economic structures may have in promoting differential regional adjustment to national demand and money wage rate fluctuations. In particular the degree to which a region is dominated by high and low growth industries (defined on the basis of labour productivity, market concentration, demand elasticity and employment growth) is hypothesized to be a key factor in explaining regional adjustment.

Second, the actual impact of macroeconomic policy upon Canadian regional unemployment is estimated using the Recession-Recovery time series method developed by the National Bureau of Economic Research. These results are then evaluated according to a set of equity criteria which emphasize absolute, comparative and relative rules of social justice. Third, the results of analysis derived from the first two steps are linked with a set of predictive models to evaluate two alternative macro-policy scenarios and their implications for the future of Canadian regional unemployment disparities. The scenarios are those of the present Liberal Government and the New Democratic Party and the predictive models are based upon the Box and Jenkins time series technique.

The economic model's hypotheses were generally confirmed and the model may provide a means of understanding why there may be differential regional adjustment to national demand and money wage rate fluctuations. It is found, although with some variations over a particular phase of the total 1969-1976 period, that the impact of macroeconomic policy was to widen Canadian regional unemployment disparities. Thus it is concluded that the effects of macro-policy over the 1969-1976 period are contrary to the interests of regional unemployment disparities, a national full employment policy such as that advocated in the NDP scenario, is seen as preferable to the Liberal scenario. However these results and their relevance for policy makers are predicted upon developing a strategy that would significantly lower the rate of national money wage rate inflation.

A number of avenues for future research are noted: first, the development of more appropriate wage determination models in space; second, the development of more efficient space-time predictive models, and; third, the development of more general models of the State that could help explain its actions and its role in maintaining spatial inequality.

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