Don't miss these SRDC sessions and presentations at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association (CEA) and at the Canadian Labour Economics Forum Conference (CLEF)

May 31, 2016

CLEF - June 2, 2016, 1:30pm - 3pm | University of Ottawa

Manitoba Works: evaluating the effectiveness of a new workforce development program for social assistance clients with multiple barriers
This paper presents early experimental evidence of the effectiveness of Manitoba Works, an innovative workforce development program. Manitoba Works is a hybrid model that combines the most promising elements of ‘work-first’ and ‘human capital development’ models with a new demand-informed approach in which service providers work closely with employers to understand their needs and prepare jobseekers to meet these needs. The program is designed for individuals who are in receipt of social assistance and have multiple barriers to employment, including street-involved youth, Aboriginal jobseekers, and unattached males. The evaluation uses a randomized control trial design and tracks program and control group social assistance usage using provincial administrative data.

Authors/Presenters: Karen Myers (SRDC) and Max Palamar (SRDC)
Co-author: Mark McKerrow (SRDC)

CEA - June 3, 2016, 2pm - 3:30pm | University of Ottawa

SRDC-FCAC: The Role of Confidence and Competency in Financial Decision-Making of Canadians

The role of confidence and financial literacy in the retirement preparedness of Canadian seniors and older adults
Recent evidence suggests that many seniors and older adults may struggle to manage their finances. On assessments of financial capability, Canadian seniors and older adults fared poorly on objective measures of financial knowledge including those with high self-rated skills. This perception-reality gap may have serious consequences for financial decision-making, particularly among those heading into retirement. This research analyzes the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS) with the aim of understanding the characteristics of over-confident Canadian seniors and older adults in their financial knowledge, the challenges and environment they are facing, and how these relate to financial behaviour, financial outcomes, and retirement preparedness.

Author/Presenter: Cam Nguyen (SRDC)
Co-authors: Taylor Shek-wai Hui (SRDC), Boris Palameta (SRDC), and David Gyarmati (SRDC)

The link between self-confidence and financial outcomes among working-aged Canadians with different levels of financial knowledge
While many Canadians lack basic knowledge of financial concepts, mounting evidence suggests that interventions that target only financial knowledge have minimal impact and that financial outcomes are also frequently affected by psychological and behavioural factors. For example, among those with relatively high levels of objectively measured financial knowledge, low confidence in one's own abilities to achieve positive financial outcomes may be an indicator of poor practices. Even with the requisite financial knowledge, poor practices may emerge as a result of self-control issues and proneness to cognitive bias when making financial decisions. In contrast, high self-confidence may signal good financial practice - however, the research literature suggests that poor outcomes may result when overly high confidence is coupled with low financial knowledge. This project uses data from the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS) to investigate the extent to which the financial outcomes of working-age Canadians are linked to self-confidence (i.e. respondents' perception of their own financial abilities) at different levels of objectively measured financial knowledge.

Author/Presenter: David Gyarmati (SRDC)
Co-authors: Boris Palameta (SRDC), Cam Nguyen (SRDC), and Taylor Shek-wai Hui (SRDC)

CEA - June 3, 2016, 4pm - 5:30pm | University of Ottawa

SRDC: Making evidence-based policy work within the federal government

The new Liberal Government has committed to base its policies on facts and evidence about what works. It proposes to strengthen the culture of measurement, evaluation, and innovation in program and policy design and delivery. A specific commitment was made to devote a fixed percentage of program funds to experimenting with new approaches to exiting problems and measuring the impact of their programs. In addition, the government wishes to improve the quality and accessibility of the data it produces.

The panelists will discuss how the federal public service is already putting in place initiatives to support the government objective to introduce more evidence-based policy and more effective programs within the federal government.

Chair: Benoit Robidoux, Associate Deputy Minister, Employment and Social Development Canada
Panelists: Sylvie Michaud (Statistics Canada), Elizabeth Hardy (Privy Council Office),
Tolga Yalkin (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat), Yves Gingras (Employment and Social Development Canada), and Jean-Pierre Voyer (SRDC)

CEA - June 4, 2016, 2pm - 3:30pm | University of Ottawa

EPRI I: Enhancing Primary and Secondary School Student Outcomes

How best to “nudge”? Getting all high school students to apply for postsecondary programs and financial aid: latest findings from randomized trials in Ontario
There have been many insights from behavioural economics on how best to "nudge" youth towards investing in their own skills. This paper presents results from experimental tests of variants of a program called Life After High School. Under the program Grade 12 students are scheduled class time to learn their postsecondary program and financial aid eligibility online and are guided to apply for both, regardless of their intentions for the following year. The project has involved rigorous randomized controlled trials, across 86 high schools in Ontario during the 2011-12 and 2013-14 school years. The first of these "nudges" to complete applications significantly increased students' chances of leaving high school with an offer of a place in a postsecondary program, and significantly increased subsequent enrollment in postsecondary education. The more recent trial randomly assigned five different delivery models to program schools that varied in the allocation of external session facilitators, additional IT support and waivers of application fees. Outcomes between different delivery models and control schools have been compared by differencing across successive cohorts of Grade 12 students, making use of linked secondary-postsecondary education records. This paper presents findings from the latest trial and the light these shed on the mechanisms underlying student behaviour as well as implications for future delivery of the program.

Author/Presenter: Reuben Ford (SRDC)
Co-authors: Philip Oreopoulos (University of Toronto), Taylor Shek-wai Hui (SRDC), and
Isaac Kwakye (SRDC)