In his presidential address to the Société Canadienne de Science Economique, at the 1978 meeting, the author had chosen to talk about the organizational problems of the Société because of the pressing nature of the situation. Should the author have decided to discuss issues related to the science of economics, as is usuall done in such occasions, he would have taken this opportunity to point out that one of the major problems of econometric research is that of specifying correctly the structural models utilized. Econometric textbooks discuss thoroughly the methods of estimations under the assumption that the structure of the econometric model is given. However, it is well known that in practice, trial and error procedures are extensively used to find "acceptable" functional forms for the equations of the models. Efforts have been made to develop systematic techniques of choice between functional forms, but the results available until now are very limited in scope. Much greater research efforts should be devoted to this fundamental topic.
In this paper, the authors develop a model for evaluating the marginal cost of electricity in the Province of Quebec for the period 1976-90. This model requires only available data, namely, the operating cost for the year 1976-77 and the investment plan for the 1976-1985 period. It makes possible the determination of the marginal cost of electricity without having to use a mathematical programming approach for which the required data are not always available.
This paper provides a survey of the literature on the effect of public pension funds on private savings. Both theoretical and empirical studies are discussed within a simple theoretical frame-work. The survey concludes that private saving is probably negatively influenced by public pension funds but that the magnitude of the effect is uncertain.
This paper deals with the problem of adjusting the supply of public services to the demand for such services. In this matter, the planner is faced with a population having a stochastic behavior and he has to solve ticklish resource allocation problems. After presenting a general frame of modeling that fits such problems, the author gives some examples taken from education, social and care services. The last section is devoted to statistical and mathematical problems that have to be solved in order to operationalise such an approach.
This article reviews the Samuelson-Lerner debate and its implications for the design of public pension plans. Pay-as-you-go public pension plans can provide a fictitious rate of interest equal to the rate of growth of the economy. The conclusion that pay-as-you-go financing provides greater welfare than a funded plan when the rate of growth is greater than the rate of return and vice-versa holds only in a steady state and pension policy should not be based on artificial worlds which can never exist.