The spectre of a "race to the bottom" is increasingly
prominent in debates about globalization and also within federal
systems where the mobility of both capital and individuals prompts
fears of interjurisdictional competition with respect to taxes and
environmental and welfare standards. While there has been no shortage
of either political rhetoric or academic theorizing on this subject,
empirical studies have been in shorter supply. This volume seeks to
fill that gap by asking: Are Canadian provinces engaged in a race to
the bottom and, if so, what are the consequences?
The contributors apply insights from economics and political science
to several policy fields. What emerges is a theoretical and empirical
picture of interprovincial competition that shows it to be more complex
than the popular image of a race to the bottom and that also
contradicts predictions of an inexorable downward spiral.
This timely, practical volume will be of interest to public policy
practitioners, as well as to students and scholars of economics and
Kathryn Harrison is associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, and author of Passing the Buck: Federalism and Canadian Environmental Policy.
Figures and Tables / vii Acknowledgments / xi 1 Provincial Interdependence: Concepts and Theories / 1 Kathryn Harrison 2 A Race to the Bottom in Provincial Business Taxation in Canada? / 25 Kenneth J. McKenzie 3 Still in the Game: Efforts to Govern Economic Development Competition in Canada / 49 Douglas M. Brown 4 Follow the Leader and Dominoes: Games that Provinces Play in Tobacco Taxation / 73 Kathryn Harrison 5 Environmental Policy in Canada: Harmonized at the Bottom? / 113 Nancy Olewiler 6 Slouching toward the Bottom? Provincial Social Assistance Provision in Canada, 1980-2000 / 157 Gerard W. Boychuk 7 Races to the Bottom versus Races to the Middle: Minimum Wage Setting in Canada / 193 David A. Green and Kathryn Harrison 8 Policy Races in the American States / 229 Mark Carl Rom 9 Are Canadian Provinces Engaged in a Race to the Bottom? Evidence and Implications / 257 Kathryn Harrison Works Cited / 271 Contributors / 291 Index / 293