The chair, a partnership between CIRANO, Retraite Québec, iA Financial Group and the universities that began in 2014, originally had the name Industrial Alliance Research Chair on the Economics of Demographic Change. Entering a second five-year term in 2019, the Chair continues its work with chairholder Raquel Fonseca (ESG UQAM) under the name of Research Chair in Intergenerational Economics. Preserving the same DNA, the work of the Chair is organized around 3 axes – inequality and poverty, labour market and transitions, and skills – identified as priorities and transversal to the intergenerational economic issues of demographic transitions.

The mission of the Chair is to contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge and to offer society and decision-makers insightful analyzes on intergenerational economic issues linked to human capital, such as inequalities and skills, as well as issues related to demographic change and the evolution of the labour market.

Expertise | Relevance | Ethics | Collaboration

Under the supervision of professor Raquel Fonseca de ESG UQAM, the work of the Chair relies on the expertise of several professors whose work on inequality and poverty, health, and in public economy, human resources economics, economics of education, economics of aging and economics of health is recognized worldwide for its rigour and relevance.

The research program of the Chair is based notably on simulation models built by the team to analyze, over several decades, the distribution of living conditions and certain behaviors of individuals. These models offer, over time, the possibility of prospectively simulating the sensitivity of different economic policies and macroeconomic and demographic conditions. This unique expertise makes it possible to understand and project the behavior of families and individuals in an economically coherent manner and to understand the effects on private and social well-being.

For several decades, questions have been asked about whether the distribution of wages based on age is flattening in more developed economies. The implications of this phenomenon are multiple: it affects, for example, the degree of wage inequality measurable from cross-sectional data as well as long-term intergenerational income inequalities. These inequalities are also visible in terms of health and wealth but also between men and women. The overall picture of inequalities has particularly deteriorated due to the covid-19 pandemic, which has led to an enrichment of the richest and an impoverishment of the least well-off in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

Examples of Actions
The study of inequalities and poverty through the development of research projects on:

  • income and wealth inequalities as well as their intergenerational transmission and socioeconomic mobility;
  • the role of education (notably numeracy), as well as institutions in these inequalities; the impact of social protection in the fight against poverty; homelessness;
  • gender inequalities, in particular changes in income and participation in the labou market; female entrepreneurship and gender gaps in entrepreneurship and productivity;
  • health inequalities, particularly children’s well-being and mental health; socio-economic issues in interaction with the labour market and retirement decisions; the health and isolation of the elderly; the role of physical activity in preventing falls leading to injury for this population; the role of caregivers in supporting their vulnerable loved ones.

The Canadian and Quebec labour market has been facing a challenge of labor scarcity for several years which has increased in certain areas with the covid-19 pandemic. In addition, this occurs in an uncertain context characterized by the aging of the population, unprecedented technological advances and the establishment of teleworking. Therefore, the labour market deserves special attention in the coming years. The Chair thus intends to study the specificities and transitions of the labour market and their implications in an intergenerational dimension.

Examples of Actions
The study of transitions of experienced workers in the labour market, with emphasis on the following aspects:

  • the impact of education on the labor market, including the returns to education (formal education and numeracy, literacy and technology (e.g. AI) skills) on the labour market; intergenerational transmission of income;
  • the specific dynamics linked to self-employment and the evolution of their income; the study of labour scarcity in Quebec and Canada, highlighting the role of guaranteed minimum income and the minimum wage; life cycle transitions in the labour market;
  • the role of regional mobility and migration in the labour market;
  • labor market transitions and caregivers, work-family balance; caregivers in society; informal and formal care markets.

In a society that is increasingly educated in terms of formal education, numeracy and technology, all generations, children and adults must each adapt according to their abilities to this reality to avoid falling behind and to be excluded with regards to the different spheres of life. This is even more the case in a context where technology is taking up more and more space.

Examples of Actions
The chair team will focus on the study of the competencies of children and adults, including:

  • the development of children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills; the link between the family environment and the well-being of children; the effects of school quality on children’s outcomes;
  • educational mobility; human capital formation (primary and secondary education), school fees; empirical evaluations of public policies regarding daycare, parental leave and family credits; the impacts of family policies in Quebec and Canada;
  • financial and economic literacy from school age; developing strategies to promote literacy from school to adulthood;
  • the study of the effects of public policies on educational inequalities and the intergenerational transmission of human capital.
Measure # 1: Analyze and document the prospective effect of demographic transitions on the community in relation to the standard of living, health of the population as well as on private and public finances in Quebec and Canada.

Measure # 2: Understand the impact of demographic transitions on individual work-related, retirement and saving behaviors and on the use of health care and long-term care.

Measure # 1: Analyze public as well as private policies and programs that can mitigate the adverse effects of demographic changes and ensure the quality of life of Quebecers and Canadians.

Measure # 2: Evaluate the opportunity cost of public spending choices in key state missions, including health, education, family, and immigration to better quantify their interests while taking into account fiscal and economic constraints

Measure # 1: Collaborate with stakeholders in the scientific community and the public and private sectors.

Measure # 2: Organize, participate in and nurture various types of academic, public and media activities for the transfer and dissemination of knowledge.

Measure # 3: Provide partners/collaborators with technical tools as well as training to facilitate their use.

Measure # 1: Train graduate students in the analysis of economic behavior, standard of living, health, and personal and public finances.

Measure # 2: Support students during their program through job opportunities at the Chair or internships, as well as a mentoring approach to foster their socio-professional integration into the labor market.

Mesure #1 : Promote the accessibility of data and their transparency in research, whether longitudinal, transversal, administrative or from surveys.

Mesure #2 : Work towards the replicability of studies on subjects related to those of the Chair.

Mesure #3 : Address data gaps in certain Chair topics and review data collection methodologies.