Is Quebec an Egalitarian Society? Social Mobility and Income Equality in Quebec and Canada

The Conference Board of Canada, 3 pages, June 1, 2017
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In this report, the authors examine income equality and social mobility in Quebec compared with the rest of Canada and the world. Quebec compares favourably for income equality, but its social mobility is not particularly strong compared with Canada as a whole.

This publication includes an English Executive Summary, followed by a French version of the full report.

Document Highlights

A society in which income is concentrated among the same members from one generation to the next is not a healthy one. At the other extreme, a society in which every member’s income is totally equal is not generally productive. What is the income equality situation in Quebec compared with the rest of Canada? And are today’s low-income Quebecers the children of yesterday’s low-income Quebecers? Or does Quebec offer equality of opportunity that results in current income levels for its citizens not being tied to that of their parents?

In this report, the authors examine income equality and social mobility in Quebec compared with Canada and the world as a whole. The report shows that Quebec compares favourably with other jurisdictions for income equality, due to its income redistribution policies. For social mobility, Quebec is similar to Germany, the leading European economy, but with a much more fluid pattern. However, social mobility in Quebec is not particularly strong compared with Canada as a whole. By preferring short-term income redistribution solutions, is Quebec depriving itself of long-term investment possibilities that would promote more mobility? Assuming constant tax rates, would it be more effective to adopt a strategy based more on investment than on income transfers?

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