Seven Faculty of Public Affairs researchers have been awarded Insight Grants by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. According to SSHRC, the Insight Grant “enables scholars to address complex issues pertaining to individuals and societies, and to further our collective understanding.”

2019 SSHRC Insight Grant Winners

“Prime Ministerial Leadership: A Collective Case Study of Canadian Prime Ministers since 1957”

From Stephen Harper to Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime ministers have displayed strikingly different governance styles over the years. Professor Stephen Azzi has won an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to delve into the history of prime ministerial leadership since 1957.

“Much of what is assumed about history is wrong,” says Azzi, who is a faculty member in the Master of Political Management program at Carleton. “I will argue that Louis St. Laurent was not first among equals or chairman of the board…and will show that Lester Pearson was not a weak leader.”

Azzi intends to conduct extensive archival research and develop case studies on the leadership style of each prime minister.

“A more extensive study of Canadian prime ministers, grounded in archival research and interviews, promises to reveal more of these myths.”

“Bordering Old Age, Bordering Care: Comparing Welfare State Approaches”

Older members of immigrant families are facing rapidly shifting restrictions on their movement. Social Work Professor Susan Braedley has received a $144,254 Insight Grant to look at this under-considered issue.

“Feminist researchers have argued that these workers subsidize care in wealthy countries through low wage care, while contributing remittances and ‘care drain’ to their countries of origin,” says Braedley. “Our research will ask what different policy choices are wealthy welfare states making for immigrants’ parents and grandparents, and what effect does that have on immigrant families? What are the implications for care?”

Braedley’s team hopes to contribute to the policy debate by developing analyses of wealthy welfare state immigration, border control and social welfare policies affecting these older family members.

She will be collaborating with researchers from Université de Montréal, Université libre de Bruxelles, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and York University.

“Post-Soviet Migrants and Changing Memory Regimes in Germany, 1987-2018”

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Germany allowed entry to many migrants from the region, including 2.3 million Russian Germans and 215,000 Russian Jews. James Casteel, a Professor in the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (EURUS) has been granted $82,583 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to compare and contrast the experiences and memories of these two groups.

“We [are asking] what commonalities and differences there are in the ways that Russian Germans and Russian Jews remember the Soviet Union,” explains Casteel. “Although vicitimization is a prominent framing strategy, to what extent do migrants’ narratives also convey nostalgia and identification with life in the Soviet Union?”

Casteel and his collaborators will be researching memoirs, literature, publications by migrant organizations, migrant and mainstream German and Russian media, museum exhibits, archived oral history interviews and new interviews conducted by trained graduate students.

“Consumer Protection in the Age of Internet Commerce and Big Data”

Last year, Canadians spent more than one billion dollars online. But along with that growth comes an increase in the commercial use of personal data and misleading pricing practices by Internet retailers.

Zhiqi Chen, a Professor in the Department of Economics, has received $72,950 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to look at consumer protections within the e-commerce marketplace.

“The academic literature has lagged behind the rapid developments in the marketplace and the ensuing policy debates,” explained Chen. “By enhancing our understanding about the trade-offs facing firms and the effects of various policy interventions, this research program will be a timely contribution to the literature and policy debates.”

Chen intends to conduct an analysis of the interactions between the collection and use of personal data by Internet firms and consumer’s privacy concerns, with the assumption that “privacy has intrinsic value which differs among consumers.”

“The Reconfiguration of Canada-Europe Relations after Brexit”

As the negotiations over Brexit continue, Professor Achim Hurrelmann’s research asks, “What impact will Brexit have on Canada and its relationship to Europe?” Hurrelmann, a professor in the Department of Political Science and the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, has been awarded $299,673 to study this topic.

“Brexit raises important challenges for Canadian foreign policy and the transatlantic relationship,” said Hurrelmann. “This project will enrich [policy and] public discourse by providing evidence that informs debates about the changing role of Europe as a reference point for Canadian policy and identity.”

The project will be a collaboration between four Canadian experts of Canada-Europe relations. Hurrelmann will be working with Frédéric Merand (Université de Montréal), Petra Dolata (University of Calgary), and Patrick Leblond (University of Ottawa).

“Simulation-based inference on measures of financial risk”

After the 2008 recession, a number of studies questioned the ability of inference on risk premiums in equilibrium-based asset pricing models and statistical tail risk assessments to be reliable tools for efficient capital allocation and policy analysis.

SSHRC has awarded $289,000 to Professor Lynda Khalaf in the Department of Economics to assess these frameworks.

“Critiques underscore various pitfalls pertaining to statistical identification, assumptions on subsidiary although consequential effects, handling of big data and parameter stability,” explained Khalaf. “Motivated by these concerns, we seek to develop and implement improved tools that are informed by and will contribute to ongoing advances in econometrics.”

In collaboration with Jean-Marie Dufour (McGill University) and Marie-Claude Beaulieu (Université Laval), Khalaf will consider “asset pricing factor models including Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT) motivated cross-sectional conditional and unconditional regressions, which imply that expected excess returns are determined solely and linearly by loadings on risk factors.”

The second research stream “focuses on risk assessment techniques, which include defining, estimating and back-testing risk measures.”

“Royal Prerogative Reform in the Westminster System”

In recent decades, four Westminster states—Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom—have seen efforts to reform royal prerogative powers. These are common law authorities that once belonged to the monarch but are now exercised by the Prime Minister, Cabinet, and other members of the executive. These powers include authorities related to foreign and military affairs, appointments and the holding of elections. The reform of these powers has varied within and among Westminster states, though they have all been part of efforts to democratize their systems of government and tame executive power.

Philippe Lagassé, an Associate Professor and Barton Chair at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, has been awarded a grant of $172,836 to study these reforms.

“This research will provide the first comparative analysis of prerogative power reform in these four states and make important and original contributions to the study of the Westminster system and democratic reform,” explained Lagassé.

The project will bring together an interdisciplinary team of political scientists and legal scholars from all four countries. These include: Leonid Sirota (New Zealand), Andrew Banfield (Australia), Robert Hazell (U.K.), Eric Adams (Canada), Sebastian Payne (U.K.), Anne Twomey (Australia).

Friday, September 20, 2019 in , , , , , , ,
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