Financing Redistribution Policies

Bill Scarth - the series organizer - is Professor Emeritus in the Economics Department at McMaster University. He has received both the President's Award for Excellence in Instruction and several McMaster Students Union Teaching Awards including the MSU’s highest honour - their Lifetime Achievement Award for Teaching. In addition to publishing many articles in academic journals (in the areas of macroeconomics, labour economics, international trade and public finance), Bill has authored four textbooks (22 editions in all), and he has been a Research Economist at the C.D. Howe Institute - contributing to policy debates - for over 20 years. Some of his recent work concerns how globalization affects the ability of governments to provide support for those living on low incomes, and to deal with the tensions between young and old that have emerged with increased concern about the environment and our aging population.


Dr. Bill Scarth
Professor Emeritus, McMaster University


October 10, 2019 - 1:30 pm



Burlington Art Gallery   View map

Most government initiatives for addressing inequality require that the government has revenue – to fund the initiative. Whether or not the program delivers its intended effects can very much depend on whether the direct benefits of the policy are bigger or smaller than the indirect costs that are imposed on the intended beneficiaries as a result of the associated taxes. This lecture focuses on how this indirect cost can be minimized. This is a big challenge in the modern world due to globalization. Capitalists can shift the location of their capital so that it is employed in low-tax countries, while unskilled workers cannot relocate across international borders. This fact makes it is very difficult for governments to tax the rich (the owners of most of the capital). How can governments help the unskilled if the only group that the government can tax is unskilled labour? Anti-globalization protesters have focused on this challenge for some years now and they have reached two (quite different) conclusions – first, that governments should erect international barriers to reverse the international mobility of capital, and second, that governments should focus on policy initiatives that do not require any tax revenue – such as increasing the minimum wage law. This lecture explores both the globalization challenge and the effectiveness of increases in the minimum wage.


Past Series Archive

Links of Interest


You are viewing the Third Age Learning Burlington TEST SITE

Click to go to our live site