Michael Walker

Chairman, Fraser Institute Foundation & Founding Executive Director of the Fraser Institute

Michael Walker was the executive director of the Fraser Institute from its inception in 1974 until September 2005. Before that he taught at the University of Western Ontario and Carleton and was employed at the Bank of Canada and the Federal Department of Finance. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario and his B.A. at St. Francis Xavier University. In 2016, he was appointed to the Order of Canada in recognition of his outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the country.

As an economist, he has authored or edited 45 books on economic topics. His articles on technical economic subjects have appeared in professional journals in Canada, the United States and Europe, including the Canadian Journal of Economics, the American Economic Review, the Journal of Finance, the Canadian Tax Journal, Health Management Quarterly, Weltwertschaftliches Archiv and Health Affairs. His primary concern as the founding Executive Director of the Fraser Institute has been to promote the examination and use of competitive markets as a method for enhancing the lives of Canadians.

He is the co-founder, with Milton and Rose D. Friedman, of the Economic Freedom of the World project which is now a collaboration of institutes in 85 countries and produces the annual Economic Freedom of the World Index. The Index is one of the most widely cited such measures in the current academic literature.

He is a director of a number of firms and other enterprises, including, Canaccord Capital, Mancal Corporation, The Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, and the owner of the Prado Verde Estates and Falcon MHP. He is a director of The Pacific Academy for Advanced Studies which organizes the annual Alamos Alliance meetings of the Chicago Boys who have been instrumental in the economic reform process in Latin America and elsewhere.

He has received the Vancouver Rotary Club Service above Self Award, the Colin M. Brown Freedom Medal and Award by the National Citizens' Coalition, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LL.D.) from The University of Western Ontario and The Thomas Jefferson Award from the Association of Private Enterprise Education.

Recent Research by Michael Walker

— Feb 11, 2016
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Why Are Interest Rates So Low

Monetary policy is having less and less impact on interest rates in developed economies such as Canada because the demographic relationship between borrowers and savers has changed dramatically. Based on financial and demographic data for 29 developed countries, Why Are Interest Rates So Low? presents a ground-breaking new model of how interest rates are determined by focusing on changing demographics—not monetary policy.

— Jan 8, 2013
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This project, sponsored by Canada’s Fraser Institute, Germany’s Liberales Institut, and the United States’ Cato Institute, focuses on creating the first comprehensive and conceptually consistent index of freedom, including economic freedom, and is based on the “negative” definition of freedom—in other words, the absence of barriers or coercion that prevent individuals from acting as they might wish.

— Feb 9, 2009
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The purpose of this study is threefold: first, to ascertain whether there are differences between mortality rates associated with coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery in Ontario hospitals that perform such surgeries; second, to test whether the aggregate CABG mortality rate in Ontario is changing; and, third, to test whether the aggregate CABG mortality rate in Ontario is different than the aggregate CABG mortality rate in US states for which comparative data are available.