Public Goods Lab
The 2012 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card concluded that 30% of Canadian municipal infrastructures rank between “fair” and “very poor” in terms of physical conditions and quality of services delivered to citizens. This is due to low investments in infrastructure, in particular, and to a reduction in the provision of public goods by governments, in general. This trend is expected to persist in the medium/long run due to the fiscal rules designed to restrain budgets and limit spending for public goods. As a result, cities and towns have less money to provide public goods (roads, bridges, and even justice). Providing less public goods may negatively affect the economy.
The objective of The Public Goods Lab (henceforth, The Lab) of the Canada Research Chair in Economics is to provide essential data collection and processing, and high performance computation infrastructure for an innovative research program that aims at quantifying the impact of government provision of public goods on policy-relevant economic outcomes. The research program takes advantage of public policy changes that generate quasi-experimental exogenous variations in the government provision of public goods, and it leverages the availability of detailed datasets for Italy and Québec in order to quantify the impact that the government provision of public goods has on economic factors associated with long-term economic development. The infrastructure requested to carry out the proposed research program will be used to provide extensive data extraction from unique administrative records and a computationally intensive micro-econometrics analysis of big data. While the research program will analyze the provision of public goods in Italy and Québec as its testing ground, its breadth is wide enough to be extended to other countries beyond Canada and Italy.