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About the Work and Economics Research Project

Work and Economics is our most active, and long standing research project, heralding from our original days as the Work Research Foundation. Above you'll find some of our key projects over the years.

What we believe and how we work are more connected than we often think. At Cardus we think we're onto something—a way of connecting belief and behaviour in work and economics—a way of organizing our understanding of work and economics in North America that can contribute to the common good.

You can learn more about what Cardus offers in the work and economics sector through this two-page overview.

What do we mean? Read about our first principles in Comment:
President Michael Van Pelt, on "Pioneering Worldview Economics" and "Work";
Director Ray Pennings, on "Kuyper's Sphere Sovereignty and Modern Economic Institutions"; and Senior Fellow Gideon Strauss on "The DNA of Economic Life" and "Market economy? Yes! Market society? No!"

Latest Research in Work and Economics

It makes sense that most of our public debate about infrastructure spending focuses on revenue. But too heavy a focus on revenue can lead us to neglect sound public policy focused on cost containment.

This paper is intended as a reminder and a spur. A reminder of the practices and data that allow governments to invest responsibly and in the public interest. And a spur to government, industry, labour, and others to consider that fair, open, and competitive tendering lightens that burden on this generation and the next.

Download Restrictive Tendering: Protection For Whom?

Toronto rightly calls itself the economic engine of Ontario. But Toronto's performance is hampered by legislation which prevents it from getting the best value for its construction projects. Why? One of the reasons can be found in a 2008 Toronto city staff report which studied the cost implications of closed-tendering in Toronto. This paper reviews that staff report and finds significant methodological problems with it that lead to faulty conclusions.

Download Tuning Up Ontario's Economic Engine

"If this doesn't work out for you, you can always pick up a trade." This short, seemingly encouraging epithet, encapsulates the Building Meaning Project. A social bias against employment in the skilled trades exists in this country. This document includes the Building Meaning in the Skilled Trades background paper, and the final series of recommendations for industry and labour stakeholders; educational institutions; governments; and researchers.

Download The Building Meaning Project Paper and Recommendations

Canada is in the midst of a new industrial revolution which is changing the face of our economy. Resources—long lamented as the means by which Canadians served other, more developed countries—have instead held Canada steady through a global economic crisis and maintained an industrial core.
Download Signs of the Times

This policy paper presents the case for a new framework of understanding labour relations in Canada. Taking insights which move debates about labour beyond the pendulum of pro-union and anti-union policies, it proposes a new policy within a new framework.
Download Competition and Cooperation

Canada's economy is increasingly reliant on construction: what is fuelling this, and what challenges and opportunities does this pose for Canadian policy makers?
Read Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water?

Expanding on the findings made in Working Mobile, Ray Pennings further illuminates the labour situation in Canada's construction Industry by surveying local workers.
Download Working Local

A comprehensive investigative research report that gives the construction industry a better understanding of the various factors relating to worker mobility in the large industrial and civil engineering sectors of the industry. Using a survey of mobile workers, the study analyzes results, and offers recommendations based on the survey findings.
Download Working Mobile

Latest in Work and Economics

Dec 8, 2016 - Cardus News
Protecting the Vulnerable from the Payday Loan Holiday Debt Trap
39% of Canadians intend to spend more money this year than last on Christmas gifts and other holiday...
Oct 28, 2015 - Comment (Feature Essay)
Building Better Markets for the Poor
You can be part of a Cardus initiative to reform payday lending....
Jul 28, 2015 - Cardus News
Brian Dijkema in Toronto Star: Solutions for public housing
Work and Economics program director explains how closed tendering eats up meager resources...
Jul 28, 2015 - Columns & Opinions
Making Public Housing Dollars Go Further
Toronto Public Housing should be searching the cupboards for ways to make the most of the limited mo...