Earnings inequality at the top has slowed progress in pay equity between men and women

Nicole Fortin, a professor of economics with the University of British Columbia, addressed the 50th anniversary meeting of the Canadian Economics Association with a “state of the art” presentation on earnings inequality in top incomes and the gender pay gap, examining three questions:

  1. What are the consequences of under representation of women in top incomes to the overall pay gap?
  2. How is it contributing to the slowdown in the convergence of male and female wages?
  3. What could be done to change things?

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“Canadian Inequality: Recent Development and Policy Options”

While inequality in Canada has increased over the course of the last three decades, the tax and transfer system can significantly reduce disparities in market incomes. But the political will to use the tax system may be limited, and public policy needs to address underlying labour market developments if it is to pursue an agenda of greater equality.

This is one of the major themes arising from a recently released discussion paper by a group of labour economists from the University of British Columbia: Nicole Fortin, David Green, Thomas Lemieux, Kevin Milligan, and Craig Riddell.

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