Research

Peer Reviewed Publications


Koebel, K., and D. Pohler 2019. Expanding the Canada Workers Benefit to design a guaranteed basic income, Canadian Public Policy, 45(3), 283-309.
We design a hybrid guaranteed basic income and earnings subsidy for working-age Canadians that addresses federalism and work disincentive concerns associated with a conventional basic income by expanding the Canada Workers Benefit. We cost our program and propose a revenue-neutral financing model by consolidating provincial SA programs and eliminating several federal and provincial tax credits. We simulate the distributional effects of our program and financing on household disposable income across deciles and family types and discuss its impact on marginal effective tax rates and interaction with disability programs. Our program substantially reduces poverty rates among two-parent families and working-age singles and couples without children.

Boadway, R., Cuff, K., and K. Koebel 2018. Can Self-Financing Redeem the Basic Income Guarantee? Disincentives, Efficiency Costs, Tax Burdens, and Attitudes: A Rejoinder, Canadian Public Policy, 44(4), 447-457.
We respond to concerns raised by Kesselman (2018) about our illustrative proposal on how to finance and implement a basic income guarantee (BIG) in Canada (Boadway, Cuff, and Koebel forthcoming). We demonstrate how our proposal could be adjusted to mitigate Kesselman’s main concern of high marginal effective tax rates (METRs) and argue that the incentive effects, redistribution consequences, and public opposition are not as detrimental as Kesselman suggests. We also show that Kesselman’s proposed alternate—an expanded Working Income Tax Benefit—could be incorporated into our BIG but would result in higher METRs and efficiency losses at some incomes.

Koebel, K., and T. Schirle 2016. The differential impact of universal child benefits on the labour supply of married and single mothers, Canadian Public Policy, 42(1), 49-64.
 ·  Working Paper Version
We examine the effects of the Universal Child Care Benefit on the labour supply of mothers. The benefit has a significant negative effect on the labour supply of legally married mothers, reducing their likelihood of participation in the labour force by 1.4 percentage points and hours worked by nearly one hour per week. In contrast, the likelihood of participation by divorced mothers rises by 2.8 percentage points when receiving the benefit and does not affect hours worked. Moreover, the benefit does not have a statistically significant effect on the participation of common-law married mothers or never-married mothers.

Papers in Festschrifts


Boadway, R., Cuff, K., and K. Koebel 2019. Federalism and the Welfare State in a Multicultural World, Queen's Policy Studies Series, McGill-Queen's University Press, 198, 101-129.

Working Papers


Boadway, R., Cuff, K., and K. Koebel 2018. Implementing a basic income guarantee in Canada: Prospects and problems, Collaborative Applied Research in Economics (CARE), Memorial University, St. John’s.
We outline the case for a basic income guarantee and characterize the alternative forms it could take. We argue that implementing such a program in the Canadian federation should involve collaboration between federal and provincial governments, with each level having some discretion over the size of the guarantee within their jurisdictions. We draw on tax harmonization arrangements in Canada for guidance about how such collaboration could be managed. We propose a basic income guarantee model for Canada that is sufficient to move all persons out of poverty, that is implemented through the tax system, and that is affordable. Our proposal is virtually self-financing in the sense that it redistributes existing federal and provincial transfers and does not require any tax increases. We illustrate our basic income guarantee program using simulations based on Statistics Canada’s SPSD/M model.

Boadway, R., Cuff, K., and K. Koebel 2016. Designing a basic income guarantee for Canada, Working Paper No. 1371, Department of Economics, Queen’s University, Kingston.
We propose mechanism for implementing a two-stage harmonized Basic Income Guarantee with federal and provincial components. In Stage One, the federal government replaces its refundable and nonrefundable tax credits with an income-tested basic income delivered through the income tax system. The reform is revenue-neutral. In Stage Two, each province decides whether to implement a provincial basic income guarantee that is harmonized with the federal one but allows province-specific basic income levels. The provincial basic income replaces provincial refundable and nonrefundable tax credits as well as welfare and disability transfers, and is also revenue-neutral. All social services and contributory social insurance programs remain intact. An illustrative calculation using Statistical Canada’s SPSD/M model shows the financial feasibility of a national BIG of $20,000 per adult adjusted for family size with a benefit reduction rate of 30%.