by kevinmil

Last updated: January 21, 2021.

Disclosure statement: here.

The American Economic Association has a disclosure policy for potential conflicts of interest, as does the National Bureau of Economic Research. To fulfill my obligations under those policies, I have posted my disclosure here, which is up-to-date as of January 2021.

The subject of the disclosure statement above is mainly financial, but it also included items related to political and policy activity. In this blog post I expand briefly on the political and policy activity.

From time to time, I take calls from government officials for advice on policy matters. I answer the calls when I’m able.

In the past, MPs from all three main parties have cited me as a credible reference in the House of Commons. (CPC, LPC, NDP)

I have twice served the Government of Canada through ‘Interchange’ placements. Under these agreements, I was seconded to the Government of Canada while maintaining my permanent position at UBC. In 2016 the secondment was to the Department of Finance for its review of federal tax expenditures. In 2020-201, I was seconded to the Privy Council Office to give advice on economic recovery.

Here are some FAQs regarding my disclosure statement and interactions with the media.


1. I’m a journalist. Given what you’ve disclosed here, should I quote you?

A: That’s your decision. I disclose; you decide. You can include any of the above information you’d like, if you think your readers would appreciate it.

2. Are you a member of a political party?

A: No.

3. Do you endorse any political party?

A: No.

4. Are you a spokesperson for the government or any party? Do they speak for you?

A: No. I provide occasional advice. Politicians and officials sift that advice through their policy and political filters and come up with a position. I’m not responsible for what comes out the other side. Experts should give advice; elected representatives should make decisions.

5. Why do you comment on policy?

A: I believe my role as a social scientist in public interactions is to push the debate toward consideration of facts, evidence, and research. Very often, people complain there is too little consideration of evidence in our political system. When actors in the political system (public servants, politicians/political staff, media) reach out to me to inquire about what the research says, I’m going to take that call.