John Burbidge

Professor Emeritus

John Burbidge.
BA Mathematics & Economics (McGill); PhD (McGill)


Personal website

Google Scholar

Retired: 2021

Areas of specialization: Public finance

Research interests

Taxation and redistribution


I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and moved with my family to Quebec as a young child. My high school math teacher recommended the math and econ program at McGill and I graduated from McGill with a BA in math and econ in 1969. I spent a year in the econ PhD program at the University of Wisconsin and then returned to McGill where I completed my PhD in 1974; I was a research student at Cambridge University in 1972-73. I taught at McMaster University from 1974-2002, spent sabbaticals at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1980-81 and University College London 1987-88, and taught at the University of Western Ontario 1993-94 and 1999.
Most of my theoretical research has been on taxation and most of my empirical research has used Canadian microdata to study household behaviour over the life cycle.

Selected publications

  • J.B. Burbidge, "Using Distance Functions to Understand Interest Taxation", Canadian Journal of Economics, forthcoming. 
  • J.B. Burbidge, K.A. Collins, J.B. Davies and L. Magee (2012) "Effective Tax and Subsidy Rates on Human Capital in Canada", Canadian Journal of Economics, 45, pp.189-219.
  • J.B. Burbidge and K. Cuff (2009) “Mandatory Retirement and Incentives in University Defined-Benefit Pension Plans”, in M. Abbott, C. Beach, R. Boadway, and J. MacKinnon (eds.), Retirement Policy Issues in Canada (McGill-Queen's University Press: Kingston), pp. 353-374.
  • J.B. Burbidge, K. Cuff and J. Leach (2006) “Tax Competition with Heterogeneous Firms,” Journal of Public Economics, 90, pp. 533-549. Special issue published in cooperation with the National Bureau of Economic Research: Proceedings of the Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar on Fiscal Federalism 20–22 May 2004.
  • J.B. Burbidge and K. Cuff (2005) “Capital Tax Competition and Returns to Scale,” Regional Science and Urban Economics, 35, pp. 353-373.
  • J.B. Burbidge (2004) “Tax Deferred Savings Plans and Interest Deductibility,” Canadian Journal of Economics, 37, pp. 757-767.
  • J.B. Burbidge and G.M. Myers (2004) “Tariff Wars and Trade Deals with Costly Government,” Review of International Economics, 12, pp. 543-549.
  • J.B. Burbidge, L. Magee and A.L. Robb (2002) “The Education Premium in Canada and the United States,” Canadian Public Policy, 28, pp. 203-214.
  • J.B. Burbidge and R. Finnie (2001) “The Inter-Provincial Mobility of Baccalaureate Graduates: Who Moves and When,” Canadian Journal of Regional Science, 23, pp. 377-401.

Work in progress

  • J.B. Burbidge, “The Role of Commodity Taxation in Pareto Efficient Tax Structures for Redistribution”.