SSHRC awards Brock University $477,654 for early research

To what extent does an aging population influence policy and financing decisions in the Canadian public health-care system? Does a strong older adult voter constituency win out over a younger, less active taxpayer base wanting to pay fewer taxes?

These are questions Brock Assistant Professor of Economics Teegawende Zeida is tackling in his research project “Aging and Welfare: Analyzing Intergenerational Political Support for Health Financing Policies in Canada.”

“Researchers, policy-makers and groups such as the Canadian Medical Association are greatly concerned about rising costs associated with chronic illness and an aging population,” says Zeida. “Since the government cannot finance everything, we have to take a stand and see how we can handle this.”

Zeida and his team are building an economic computer model that will project the acceptability of various policy decisions based on age, wealth, labour force participation and other factors thanks to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)’s Insight Development Grant program.

The Insight Development Grants are part of a funding bundle Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez announced Wednesday, March 13 on behalf of Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne.

Brock University was awarded a total $477,654 for nine research projects.

“This investment speaks to the importance of research undertaken by Brock scholars and the depth of the contributions their work makes across multiple areas of Canadian society,” says Michelle McGinn, Acting Brock Vice-President, Research.

Zeida and Associate Professor of Economics Katerina Koka’s economic model will analyze statistics and trends underlying the health-care system.

A key trend is that older Canadians need more health-care services because of a relatively high incidence of chronic illness and are also active voters, while younger Canadians are concerned about rising taxes and are less active voters, says Zeida.

Plugging in a wide variety of factors, the model aims to generate an optimal policy mix that maximizes meeting the health needs of older adults while avoiding a greater tax burden on younger workers, which may act as a disincentive for them to work.

“Understanding which policies are both welfare-enhancing and politically feasible, such as gaining support from an aging electorate, can be valuable in tackling the financial challenges of rising healthcare costs in Canada,” Zeida says.

The nine Brock University projects awarded Insight Development Grant funding are:

  • Curtis Fogel, Associate Professor, Sport Management, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “From Systemic Negligence to Systemic Change: Community Anti-Violence Advocates’ Perspectives on Preventing Sexual Assault in Junior Hockey in Canada”
  • Neta Gordon, Professor, English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities, “Mapping AnnMarie MacDonald”
  • Rajiv Jhangiani, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, “Assessing the Maturity and Capacity of Ontario’s Post-secondary Sector to Support Open Educational Practices”
  • Hunter Knight, Assistant Professor, Child and Youth Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Carcerality, Colonialism, and Cognition: Analyzing the Cultural Cognitive Structures that Uphold the Logics of Seclusion in Schools”
  • Gary Libben, Professor, Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences, “New Techniques to Take the Pulse of Written Language Production in Canada”
  • Caitlin Mahy, Professor, Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Developing and Validating Behavioural Measures of Young Children’s Procrastination”
  • Liam Midzain-Gobin, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Building Inter-National Sovereignty: The Case of the Big Salmon River”
  • Teegawende Zeida, Assistant Professor, Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Aging and Welfare: Analyzing Intergenerational Political Support for Health Financing Policies in Canada”
  • Dawn Zinga, Professor, Child and Youth Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Mapping Competitive Dancer Development: A Multidisciplinary Examination of Training Trajectories, Injury, Social Comparison, and Well-being”

“The Insight Development Grant Program through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada allows important studies like the nine research projects at Brock to happen,” says Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre.

“Investments like this are important to Brock University and the Niagara region, as they allow researchers to develop and build on important knowledge,” he says.

“Brock University’s new research on aging and welfare is a commitment to the well-being of our seniors,” says Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines. “This research will be crucial to help inform government policies and ensure the welfare of Canadians as they age.”

Insight Development Grants support research in its initial stages. The grants enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches and ideas.

Funding is provided for short-term research development projects of up to two years that are proposed by individuals or teams.

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