William Watson

Professor of Economics, McGill University

William Watson is a Professor of Economics at McGill and Senior Fellow with the Fraser Institute.  He holds degrees in economics from McGill and Yale Universities.  He has taught at McGill University since 1977 and was Chairman of its Department of Economics from 2005-10.   He is best known for his regular columns in the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen. From 1998-2002 he edited Policy Options politiques, the magazine of Montreal’s Institute for Research on Public Policy. While on a leave from McGill in 1997-8, he served as editorial pages editor of the Ottawa Citizen. He was the 1989 winner of the National Magazine Awards gold medal for humour for a piece in Saturday Night magazine about a trip to New York. He contributed to the Fraser Institute’s Services Sector Studies with 1988’s National Pastimes: The Economics of Canadian Leisure. His book Globalization and the Meaning of Canadian Life, published by the University of Toronto Press, was runner-up for the Donner Prize for the best book on Canadian public policy of 1998. His latest book, currently in press with UT Press is The Inequality Trap: Fighting Capitalism instead of Poverty.

Recent Research by William Watson

— Feb 27, 2020
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The Budget That Changed Canada: Essays on the 25th Anniversary of the 1995 Budget is a new book of collected essays celebrating Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin’s historic federal budget that tackled head-on the pressing fiscal challenges facing the nation following nearly 30 years of deficits and mounting debt. The 1995 budget, which reduced program spending and led to balanced budgets, shrinking debt and eventually broad-based tax relief, laid the foundation for more than a decade of economic prosperity and is one of the main reasons Canada weathered the 2009 global recession better than most other industrialized countries.

— Apr 6, 2017
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History and Development of Canada's Personal Income Tax

The History and Development of Canada’s Personal Income Tax: Zero to 50 in 100 years finds that the tax, which began as a small wartime revenue generator, has morphed into a costly, complex behemoth that’s difficult to administer and makes Canada uncompetitive. In fact, when compared to U.S. states, Canadian provinces have seven of the eight highest top combined rates, with Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Manitoba all over 50 per cent.