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Research and Publications

Researchers associated with the IAPR post their research as IAPR Technical Papers under one of the Working Group titles. When those Technical Papers also contribute to a Research Theme they are cross-listed under the title of that Research Theme. What follows are descriptions of the research of each Working Group and each Research Theme. Clicking on the title of the Working Group (or on the menu to the left) will take you the Technical Papers posted by members of that Working Group or contributors to that Research Theme.

Markets, Institutions, & Regulation Working Group

Coordinator: Jeffrey Church

The "invisible hand" insight of Adam Smith is that when individuals seek only to maximize their own welfare, an efficient outcome will be obtained, one where it is not possible to make one person better off without making someone else worse off. However, this central principle of economics holds only when markets are complete and when they are competitive. These conditions often do not hold and instead we observe incomplete or missing markets, and a few sellers, perhaps even just one, with market power. The research organized by this working group will explore the institutional and public policy implications of markets characterized by these imperfections, especially the problems created by market power. Concerns over market power provide the intellectual foundations for competition policy, regulation of public utilities, and intellectual property rights. This working group will enhance and facilitate multi-disciplinary research between researchers in the Faculty of Law, the Department of Economics, the Haskayne School of Business, and the Schulich School of Engineering.

Government Finances & Public Choice Working GroupCoordinator: Ron Kneebone

This Working Group brings together scholars interested in the study of government finances and the study of how individuals and organizations respond to public policy choices. The scope of our study will be broad, reflecting the variety of fiscal choices available to governments and the variety of ways these choices affect individuals and organizations. Thus, our interests will include tax policy, intergovernmental relations, issues of deficit and debt management, issues of political economy, the intergenerational impacts of policy choices, policy choices as they affect measures of well-being, and the influence of policy on the behavioural choices of individuals and organizations. The breadth of our interests is such that the Working Group can conceivably contain economists, political scientists, geographers, sociologists, historians, and psychologists.

Spatial Activities Working Group

Coordinator: JD Hunt

The Spatial Activities Working Group brings together scholars who work on issues related to social, economic, and technological systems that involve the spatial dimension. These include urban, regional, and international transportation systems, settlements patterns, determinants of urban crime and poverty, and the determinants of the urban form. The development of advanced tools for supporting the analysis of policy options concerning these matters is one focus of the Group. A larger intention is the establishment and evolution of conceptual frameworks that provide for explicit treatment of the spatial dimension. The Spatial Activities Working Group can conceivably contains geographers, economists, transportation engineers, municipal engineers, urban planners, sociologists, and political scientists.

Political & Legal Institutions Working Group

Coordinator: Anthony Sayers

Members of this Working Group focus on political and legal institutions in two ways: First, as products of public policy decisions and, second, as factors that shape public policy outcomes. The political and legal institutions that structure democratic government are themselves products of public policy decisions. Choices regarding the structure of electoral systems and laws, constitutional guarantees of rights, and the structure of legislative institutions - to name a few - are all matters of public policy. The attention of the working group will be on the design of political and legal institutions in Canada and elsewhere, with a view to evaluating their effectiveness and responsiveness. The effects of institutions on policy outcomes will be a second focus of the working group.

Labour Markets & Workplace Issues Working Group

Coordinator: Daphne Taras

This Working Group brings together scholars with expertise in the development, application, or assessment of public policies that have an impact on employment conditions. The Working Group will develop an agenda for the advancement of research on significant public policy issues affecting organized labour, individual employees, employers, and the many labour market intermediaries that affect employment relations. Topics such as wages, pensions and benefits, rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees, employment-based social security provisions, dispute resolution mechanisms, labour force entry and mobility issues, job security, changing labour market demographics, and job training initiatives are examples of topics that would fall within the mandate of this Working Group.

Research Theme on Resources & the Environment

An issue which many predict will dominate all others over the next century is the impact on the environment of the exploitation of fossil fuels. Policies designed to influence this relationships have implications for economic growth, for standards of living, for political relationships, for trade relationships, for government finances, for agriculture and water conservation, and of course for global warming. Recognition of these inter-relationships suggests there is value in a multi-disciplinary approach to investigations of the challenges and issues arising from the burning of fossil fuels and the effect this has on the environment.

Research Theme on Urban Issues

Fifty percent of Canadians reside in one of nine large cities. The populations of these nine large cities differ significantly from those of smaller cities, towns and rural areas in terms of age, education, and income. Municipal governments have arguably the most direct impact of any level of government on citizens' quality of life as their decisions affect the quality and availability of housing, the delivery of essential sanitation and transportation services, and the provision of cultural amenities, and yet they are elected with a smaller voter turnout than any other level of government. All of these issues, whether economic, political, social, or engineering in nature, are closely intertwined in the study of cities. Recognition of these close inter-relationships calls for a multi-disciplinary approach to any investigation of the challenges and issue facing Canada's cities.

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