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 inter-jurisdictional competition. This volume asks whether Canadian provinces are racing to the bottom and, if so, with what consequences? Contributors offer a rich theoretical and empirical picture of interprovincial competition in several different policy fields. Contrary to dire predictions of a downward spiral in provincial standards, the authors find that Canadian provinces have continued to increase their taxes on capital, maintained and occasionally increased environmental standards, restrained their reliance on subsidies to attract investment, and successfully increased welfare benefits and excise taxes in at least some periods. In explaining the provinces' resistence to a race to the bottom, it is noteworthy that, in addition to capital, ideas and information also flow freely within a national political community. Governments, activists, and individual voters thus look to the benchmarks set by other jurisdictions, and the resulting upward pressure for emulation can counteract downward pressures from mobile actors.This timely, practical volume will be of interest to public policy practitioners, as well as to students and scholars of economics and political science.
Kathryn Harrison is associate professor in theDepartment of Political Science at the University of British Columbia,and author of Passing the Buck: Federalism and CanadianEnvironmental Policy.
Figures and Tables / vii Acknowledgments / xi 1 Provincial Interdependence: Concepts and Theories / 1 KathrynHarrison 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 DevelopmentCompetition in Canada / 49 Douglas M. Brown 4 Follow the Leader and Dominoes: Games that Provinces Play inTobacco Taxation / 73 Kathryn Harrison 5 Environmental Policy in Canada: Harmonized at the Bottom? / 113Nancy Olewiler 6 Slouching toward the Bottom? Provincial Social AssistanceProvision in Canada, 1980-2000 / 157 Gerard W. Boychuk 7 Races to the Bottom versus Races to the Middle: Minimum WageSetting in Canada / 193 David A. Green and KathrynHarrison 8 Policy Races in the American States / 229 Mark CarlRom 9 Are Canadian Provinces Engaged in a Race to the Bottom? Evidenceand Implications / 257 Kathryn Harrison Works Cited / 271 Contributors / 291 Index / 293