Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Policies to Induce Structural Change in the British Columbia Economy */« Les Politiques Pour Induire Du Changement Structural Dans L'economie De la Colombie-Britannique»

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Policies to Induce Structural Change in the British Columbia Economy */« Les Politiques Pour Induire Du Changement Structural Dans L'economie De la Colombie-Britannique»

Article excerpt


This paper examines the association of provincial government development policies and institutions with the accelerating transition of the British Columbia economy from domination by resource industries to a current and future structure where these industries are less important. The paper includes a survey of theoretical and empirical research on structural change in regional economies, measurement of structural change in the B.C. economy, and a summary of policies and programs that have been used to encourage the evolution of the B.C. economy since 1965. Changes in development-related policies, institutions, and expenditure are tracked and compared to changes in economic structure in the last 35 years. Expenditures and subjective assessment of programs that cannot be quantified are used to explain the level of diversification of the economy. There is some evidence of effectiveness of industrial development programs in improving the performance of the B.C. economy but the effects are not strong. This could be because expenditures understate the full range of government industrial development activities and the analysis does not take account of fiscal measures or provincial government resource and environmental policies.


Dans cet article, une analyse est presentee du rapport entre les politiques de developpement du gouvernement provincial et ses institutions et la transition de plus en plus rapide de l'economie de la Colombie-britannique d'une economie domine par les industries basees sur des ressources naturelles a son actuel et futur ou ces industries sont moins importantes. Dans l'article, on trouve un survol de la recherche theorique et empirique concernant le changement structurel des economies regionales, la quantification du changement structurel de l'economie de la C.-B., et un resume des politiques et des programmes qui ont ete utilises afin d'encourage l'evolution de l'economie de la C.-B. depuis 1965. Des changements dans les politiques reliees au developpement, les institutions et les depenses sont mises en evidence, ainsi que leurs liens avec les changements de structure economique au cours des dernieres 35 annees. Des depenses et une evaluation subjective de programmes qui ne peuvent pas etre quantifies sont utilises afin d'expliquer le degre de diversification de l'economie. Il y a certaines preuves que des programmes de developpement industriel ont contribue a une amelioration de la performance de l'economie de la C.-B. mais les effets no sont pas forts. Ceci est probablement en partie du au fait que les depenses ne rendent pas compte de la gamme totale des activites gouvernementales en matiere de developpement industriel et, de plus, l'analyse ne tient pas compte des mesures fiscales ni des politiques gouvernementales en matiere concernant les ressources ni l'environnement.

Provincial government economic and industrial development policies in British Columbia have long been associated with the desire for diversification of the economy to achieve better economic performance. The quest for a more diverse economy less dominated by natural resource industries has become more intense in recent decades as B.C.'s relative economic performance has lagged other provinces. (1) This has involved government policies, institutions, and expenditures. We are interested in exploring how effective some of these efforts have been in achieving their objectives over the period since 1965.

We begin with an overview of the theoretical and applied literature on regional economic diversification and the nature and effectiveness of development policies and programs. A review of the B.C. economy follows; its focus is on structural change and relative performance. Next, the priorities, institutions, instruments, and expenditures connected to economic and industrial development in British Columbia since the 1960s are examined. An index measure of structural diversity is used to analyze the impact of industrial development policies and expenditures. …

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