Price and quantity indexes are applied in the analysis of expenditure on physician services in the province of Ontario, Canada, using newly available data files for 1992 and 2004. Price indexes for such services are found to have increased less rapidly than indexes of general inflation and quantity indexes are found to account for the largest share of physician expenditure increases. The quantity indexes imply substantial gains in services per capita, especially for older adults. They imply also an increase in labour productivity for physicians that is somewhat greater than the corresponding increase for the economy at large.
Since the concept of retirement is prominent in both popular thinking and academic studies it would be helpful if the notion were analytically sound, could be measured with precision, and would make possible comparisons of patterns of retirement over time and among different populations. This paper reviews and assesses the many concepts and measures that have been proposed, summarizing them in groupings that reflect nonparticipation or reduced participation in the labour force, receipt of pension income, endof- career employment, self-assessed retirement, or combinations of those characteristics. It concludes that there is no agreed measure and that no one measure dominates. Instead, new measures continue to be proposed to take account of additional refinements as new data sets become available, thereby further restricting possible comparisons. The confusing array of definitions reflects the practical problem that underlies the concept of retirement: it is an essentially negative notion, a notion of what people are not doing – namely, that they are not working. A more positive approach would be to focus instead on what people are doing, including especially their involvement in non-market activities that are socially productive, even if those activities do not contribute to national income as conventionally measured.
Pension benefit guarantee policies have been introduced in several countries to pro-
tect private pension plan members from the loss of income that would occur if a plan
was underfunded when the sponsoring firm terminates a plan. Most of these public
insurance schemes face financial difficulty and consequently policy reforms are being
discussed or implemented. Economic theory suggests that such schemes will face moral
hazard and adverse selection problems. In this note we test a specific theoretical predic-
tion: insured plans will invest more heavily in risky assets. Our test exploits differences
in insurance arrangements across Canadian jurisdictions. We find that insured plans
invest about 5 percent more in equities than do similar plans without benefit guarantees.