Achieving the Four-Day Work Week: Part 1 Essays

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Achieving the Four-Day Work Week

This is the first part in a new series of essays to be published by the Fraser Institute over the coming months focused on policy reforms that can improve productivity growth and lay the foundation for a four-day work week.

Putting Government on a Financial Diet: The Role of Statutory Fiscal Rules, written by the University of Calgary’s President’s Fellow Jack Mintz, finds that because of Ottawa’s significant budget deficit and mounting debt, the federal government should adopt a rule—legislated by Parliament—to push the government towards budget balance.

The “balanced budget” rule should be legislated and possibly include annual federal deficit targets leading to budget balance.

The essay also shows that to ensure transparency, Parliament should establish a council—independent from the government—to monitor Ottawa’s fiscal process, or instead direct the Parliamentary Budget Office to closely monitor the fiscal plan.

And if the government fails to achieve its fiscal targets, politicians should be penalized with salary reductions.

A separate essay by Fraser Institute Senior Fellow Livio Di Matteo, Government Size and Economic Growth: An Overview, finds that governments in Canada substantially exceed the optimal size of government to maximize economic growth and increase the possibility of a four-day work week.

Based on data from 17 developed countries from 1870 to 2016, the optimal size of government for economic growth ranges from 24 per cent to 32 per cent (as a share of the economy). However, since the 1970s the total size of government in Canada has ranged from 35 per cent to 53 per cent.

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