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Ian Irvine, PhD

Professor, Economics
Fellow, School of Irish Studies
Research Fellow C D Howe Institute

Ian Irvine, PhD


Ph.D., University of Western Ontario, 1978, in the area of income distribution:

"The Distribution of Lifetime Purchasing Power in Canada"

Fields of specialization

Public Economics, Public Policy, Health Economics, Inequality, Microeconomics.

Research interests

I have worked in a variety of areas recently with policy implications. Work on the saving behavior of individuals over the life cycle has resulted in papers in the European Economic Review (2001) and Economica (2002); on alcohol taxation in the Journal of Public Economics (1993); on tobacco in Canadian Public Policy (1998), the Berkeley Electronic Press (2004) and the Journal of Health Economics (2009); on deadweight loss measurement in the American Economic Review (1998) and on housing demand in the Journal of Urban Economics (1996).

My current work is primarily on tobacco-related issues and the development of the legal cannabis market. In tobacco I have completed papers on the impact of workplace smoking bans on smoking and the impact of graphic health warnings (on cigarette packages) upon smoking rates; in cannabis I am researching the impact of legalization on tax revenue from sin goods; in the field of vaping I am exploring the relationship between vaping and traditional nicotine delivery products. My immediate past interest has been in the laws and regulations surrounding electric vehicles and how this framework impacts the adoption of electric vehicles.

Professional experience

I have been on the Faculty at Concordia University since 1978, and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1995. I have been an academic visitor at the University of Sydney, Australia, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the London School of Economics, the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin and University College Dublin, Ireland. I have consulted for a number of agencies in Ottawa in the area of tobacco and alcohol taxation.

Teaching activities

Public Economics and Public Policy

Economic Inequality

Principles of Economics


I am also the coauthor of a pair of principles of economics books, with Dr. Douglas Curtis of Trent University. These are in the creative commons, accessible to students and the public free of charge. 

I have developed a complete stand-alone on-line course in the principles of microeconomics, with eConcordia as my producer. Sample lectures are available on You Tube.

I am committed to the teaching of public policy and to how the study of economic incentives and markets can be used to further economic, environmental and social goals.


"The tax consequences of legal cannabis." Canadian Public Policy46(3), September 2020, pp. 305-322.

“The MarginalSocial Value of Electric Vehicle Subsidies - Preliminary Evidence", 2017.  EconomicsBulletin, 37(1), A13.


“Electric VehicleSubsidies in the Era of Attribute-Based Regulations”, 2017. Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques,XLIII (1), p50-59.

“The Simple Analytics of Tobacco Taxation with Illegal Supply”, 2015. Canadian Journal of Economics, 47(4), p1153-1172. Coauthor: William Sims.


“Retail Tobacco Display Bans”, 2014. Forum for Health Economics and Policy, 17(2), p169-195. Coauthor:Van Hai Nguyen.


“Is Employment Discrimination Based on Tobacco Use Efficient?”(2014). Contemporary Economic Policy.On-line publication: 7 March 2014. DOI: 10.1111/coep.12044. Coauthor: Van Hai Nguyen.


“Toxic Choices: The Impact of Workplace and Home Smoking Bans.”Health Forum in Economics, Berkeley Economic Press, 2011,14(2). Coauthor: Van Hai Nguyen.


“Fiscal Reform and the Redistributional Impact of Canada’s Employment Insurance Program, 1992-2002.” Canadian Public Policy, 2010, XXXVII(2). Coauthor: Ross Finnie.


“Tobacco Taxes and Regressivity.” Journal of Health Economics, 28 (2009)375–384. Coauthor: Nikolay Gospodinov. 


“The Welfare Enigma: Explaining the Dramatic Decline in Canadians’ Use of Social Assistance, 1993–2005.” Coauthor: Ross Finnie, C. D. Howe Institute, 2008.


“Mobility and Gender at the Top Tail of the Earnings Distribution.” Economic and Social Review,Vol. 37, p149-175, 2006.Coauthor: Ross Finnie.


“A ‘Long March’ Perspective on Tobacco Use in Canada.” Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 38, no. 2, 2005. Coauthor: Nikolay Gospodinov.


“Global Health Warnings on Tobacco Packaging: Evidence from the Canadian Experiment.” Topics in Economic Analysis and Policy,Berkeley Electronic Press, Vol. 4, Issue 1, 2004. Coauthor: Nikolay Gospodinov.


“Social Assistance Use in Canada in the Nineties: Incidence,Entry and Exit.” Canadian Journal of Regional Science, 2004. Coauthors:Ross Finnie and Richard Sceviour.


“The Distribution of Wealth with Uncertain Incomes''. Economica,vol. 70, no. 278, pp267-92, May 2003. Coauthor: Susheng Wang.


“A Simple and Efficient Method for Estimating the Magnitude and Precision of Welfare Changes: Comment.” Journal of Applied Econometrics, 2002, vol. 17(1), p81-83.


“Saving Behavior and Wealth Accumulation in a Pure Life-Cycle Model with Income Uncertainty.” European Economic Review,2001, vol. 45, pp. 233-58. Coauthor: Susheng Wang.


“Measuring Consumer Surplus with unknown Hicksian Demands.” American Economic Review, 1998, vol. 88, no.1, pp. 314-322. Coauthor: William Sims.


“Tobacco Control Legislation and Resource Allocation Effects.” Canadian Public Policy, 1998. Coauthor: William Sims.


“Instrument Choice: The Demand for Mortgages in Canada.”  Journal of Urban Economics, 1996, vol.39, no. 3, pp. 282-302. Coauthors: Jon Breslaw and Abdul Rahman.


“Earnings Uncertainty, Wealth Accumulation and Inter-temporal Substitution.” American Economic Review, 1994, vol. 84, pp. 1463-70.Coauthor: Susheng Wang.


“Inter-provincial Barriers to Trade: The Case of Beer.” In Provincial Trade Wars, Fraser Institute, Vancouver. Edited by F. Palda, 1994, pp.1-46.Coauthor: William Sims.


“GATT Rulings, Excise Reforms and Trade Patterns: The Alcoholic Beverages Industry in Canada.”Journal of Economic Integration, 1993, vol. 8, pp.68-88. Coauthor:William Sims.


“The Welfare Effects of Alcohol Taxation.”  Journal of Public Economics, 1993, pp.83-100. Coauthor: William Sims.


“Deadweight Loss Measurement using Generalized Gorman Polar Forms.” Public Finance/Finances Publiques, 1990, pp. 260-267. Coauthor:Patrick Honohan.


“Inter-provincial or International Free Trade; The Brewing Industry.” Canadian Journal of Economics, 1990, vol. 23, no. 2, pp.332-347. Coauthors: Anastas Anastasopoulos and William Sims.


“The Marginal Social Cost of Taxation in Ireland.” Economic and Social Review, 1987, vol. 19, pp.15-42. Coauthor: Patrick Honohan.


“Inflation, Taxation, Capital Markets and the Demand for Housing in Ireland.”Economic and Social Review, 1986, vol. 17, pp.277-292.


“A Study of New House Prices in Ireland in the Seventies''.Monograph, published by Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, 1983.


“The Estimation of Local Government Expenditure Responses to Inter-government Transfers.” The Review of Economics and Statistics,1983, vol. 65, pp. 534-536. Coauthor: Barry Smith.


“The Exact Estimation of Logit Models by Means of Least Squares.” Economics Letters, 1982, pp. 269-274. Coauthor: Jon Breslaw.


“On the Use of Cross-Section Micro-data in Lifecycle Models:An Application to Inequality Theory in Non Stationary Economies.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1981, pp. 301-316.


“Further Evidence on Inflation and Redistribution in the United Kingdom.”  The Economic Journal,vol. 90, 1980, pp. 907-911. Coauthor: Colm McCarthy.


“The Distribution of Income and Wealth in a Lifecycle Framework.”  Canadian Journal of Economics, 1980, Vol. 13, pp. 455- 474.


“Expenditure Patterns and the Welfare Effects of Inflation:Estimates of a 'True' Cost- of-Living Index.” Economic and Social Review,1978, pp. 157-166. Coauthor: Colm McCarthy.


“Pitfalls in the Specification of Optimal Lifetime Consumption Patterns.” Oxford Economic Papers, 1978, Vol. 30, pp. 301-309.

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