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Research Institute for Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population

Abstracts of Research Reports: 2008

  1. An Application of Price and Quantity Indexes in the Analysis of Changes in Expenditures on Physician Services

    by Frank T. Denton, Christine H. Feaver, and Byron G. Spencer

    Price and quantity indexes are applied in the analysis of expenditure on physician services in the province of Ontario, Canada, using newly available data files for 1992 and 2004. Price indexes for such services are found to have increased less rapidly than indexes of general inflation and quantity indexes are found to account for the largest share of physician expenditure increases. The quantity indexes imply substantial gains in services per capita, especially for older adults. They imply also an increase in labour productivity for physicians that is somewhat greater than the corresponding increase for the economy at large.

  2. What Is Retirement? A Review and Assessment of Alternative Concepts and Measures

    by Frank T. Denton and Byron G. Spencer

    Since the concept of retirement is prominent in both popular thinking and academic studies it would be helpful if the notion were analytically sound, could be measured with precision, and would make possible comparisons of patterns of retirement over time and among different populations. This paper reviews and assesses the many concepts and measures that have been proposed, summarizing them in groupings that reflect nonparticipation or reduced participation in the labour force, receipt of pension income, endof- career employment, self-assessed retirement, or combinations of those characteristics. It concludes that there is no agreed measure and that no one measure dominates. Instead, new measures continue to be proposed to take account of additional refinements as new data sets become available, thereby further restricting possible comparisons. The confusing array of definitions reflects the practical problem that underlies the concept of retirement: it is an essentially negative notion, a notion of what people are not doing namely, that they are not working. A more positive approach would be to focus instead on what people are doing, including especially their involvement in non-market activities that are socially productive, even if those activities do not contribute to national income as conventionally measured.

  3. Pension Benefit Insurance and Pension Plan Portfolio Choice

    by Thomas Crossley and Mario Jametti

    Pension benefit guarantee policies have been introduced in several countries to pro- tect private pension plan members from the loss of income that would occur if a plan was underfunded when the sponsoring firm terminates a plan. Most of these public insurance schemes face financial difficulty and consequently policy reforms are being discussed or implemented. Economic theory suggests that such schemes will face moral hazard and adverse selection problems. In this note we test a specific theoretical predic- tion: insured plans will invest more heavily in risky assets. Our test exploits differences in insurance arrangements across Canadian jurisdictions. We find that insured plans invest about 5 percent more in equities than do similar plans without benefit guarantees.

Last updated: Dec 9, 2008.
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