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Elisabeth  Gugl - University of Victoria. Victoria, BC, CA

Elisabeth Gugl

Associate Professor | University of Victoria

Victoria, BC, CANADA

Dr. Gugl's main research is in family economics, an area that investigates issues such as family formation and dissolution






Faces of UVic Research: Elisabeth Gugl




Elisabeth Gugl joined the Department of Economics in 2003. She received MA and PhD degrees from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Many of her papers deal with policy evaluation, whether in the field of family economics or in the context of interjurisdictional competition.

Dr. Gugl's main research is in family economics, an area that investigates issues such as family formation and dissolution, fertility decisions, investments in children, altruism in families, and gender inequality in relationships. One of the recurring themes in her research is the analysis of how family members make decisions and how public policy may influence their actions and ultimately the distribution of welfare among family members.

Publications in this area appeared in the Canadian Journal of Economics, Economic Inquiry, Mathematical Social Sciences, Review of Economics of the Household, Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, and the Canadian Tax Journal. She sees her contribution in family economics as threefold: modeling family decision-making; analyzing policy; and modeling parents’ investments in their children.

Another area of Dr. Gugl's research is on tax competition and local governance. Her most recent article on this topic appeared in the National Tax Journal.

Her expertise on interjurisdictional competition also informed her approach to analyzing the fiscal sustainability of the City of Victoria and ultimately the Capital Region itself. Together with her colleague David Scoones, she presented the findings of their report to the Victoria City Council in 2013.

Industry Expertise (3)



Public Policy

Areas of Expertise (11)

Family Economics

Microeconomic Theory

Public Finance

Labour Economics

Family Formation and Dissolution

Fertility Decisions

Investments in Children

Altruism in Families

Gender Inequality in Relationships

Tax Competition

Fiscal Federalism

Education (2)

Rice University: Ph.D., Economics

Rice University: M.A., Economics

Affiliations (2)

  • CESifo Network Member
  • CWEN Executive Member

Languages (2)

  • German
  • English

Media Appearances (2)

Statistics suggest Nanaimo has B.C.’s second-highest tax burden

Times Colonist  online


"I would pay more attention to (the typical home) number," said University of Victoria economist Elisabeth Gugl. "These are the people who are actually paying the taxes." With regards to the residential tax burden, Gugl said the distribution of tax-paying homeowners to those who do not own property in the city may have a considerable effect on tax burden figures. "I have trouble finding that a useful measure," she said. "You're not talking about anybody in particular in the economy that would actually experience that situation."...

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UVic prof Elisabeth Gugl criticizes Stephen Harper’s income-splitting plan

The Georgia Straight  online


Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposed income-splitting tax measure doesn’t offer much to lower-income families, argues a University of Victoria expert. “It sounds like it’s helping lower-middle-class people, maybe, but it’s not,” said Elisabeth Gugl, an assistant professor of economics at the university. “The benefit certainly increases with the amount of income you have in your household,” Gugl said...

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Articles (6)

Competition in Business Taxes and Public Services: Are Production-based Taxes Superior to Captial Taxes?

National Tax Journal


With George R. Zodrow

Time with sons and daughters

Review of Economics of the Household

2012 We present a model of parental investment in child quality in which the effectiveness—objectively or as perceived by the parents—of parental childcare depends on the sex of the child. In particular, the time of the same-sex parent is more productive than that of the opposite-sex parent. When parents have equal wages, efficiency considerations dictate that a parent spends more time with a same-sex child than with an opposite-sex child, but parents allocate the same total time to boys and girls, and costs of raising a boy are the same as raising a girl. When wage rates differ, and the mother is the lower-waged parent, it is cheaper to produce child quality of girls than of boys. We show that many of the empirical results in terms of a different time allocation pattern, total amount of time invested in a child, expenditures on child consumption goods, and family size and composition can be explained by this technological difference and the gender wage gap, without relying on parental preferences for girls versus boys. Our analysis is largely diagrammatic.

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Share the gain, share the pain? Almost transferable utility, changes in production possibilities, and bargaining solutions

Mathematical Social Sciences

2011 We consider an n-person economy in which efficiency is independent of distribution but the cardinal properties of the agents’ utility functions may preclude transferable utility (a property we call “Almost TU”). Holding the disagreement point fixed, we show that Almost TU is a necessary and sufficient condition for all agents to either benefit jointly or suffer jointly with any change in production possibilities under well-behaved generalized utilitarian bargaining solutions (of which the Nash bargaining and the utilitarian solutions are special cases). We apply the result to policy analysis and to incentive compatibility.

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The Behavioural Effects of “Joint” Tax and Benefit Laws on Women's Economic Lives

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law

2010 A change in family policies typically changes a couple's economic opportunities, leading to different actions before and after the policy change. The central question in this article is how these different actions (most notably a change in the division of labour) translate into changes in each (common-law) spouse's well-being or, in more economic terms, utility. In order to evaluate the utility of each spouse before and after the policy changes, the article draws on cooperative bargaining theory to examine how husband and wife share family resources. It shows that a change in spouses’ division of labour due to a policy change does not change the bargaining power of the spouses in a one-period bargaining model but that it does so in a dynamic period-by-period bargaining model.

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The Early Bird gets the Worm? Birth Order Effects in a Dynamic Model of the Family

Economic Inquiry

2010 Birth order effects are found in empirical work but lack solid theoretical foundations in economics. Our new modeling approach to children provides this. Each child’s needs change as it grows, and births are sequential. Each child has the same genetic makeup and parents do not favor one child over the other. Parental childcare time lowers the caregiver’s current and future wages; this opportunity cost varies across time. Benefits also vary and when parental childcare is a public input, coresident children allow economies of scope in childcare. Birth order effects emerge from the changing benefits and costs.

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Income splitting, specialization, and intra-family distribution

Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique

2009 Income splitting for tax purposes results in more specialization of wives, but does this in turn generate more gender inequality? In my dynamic bargaining model with a divorce threatpoint, I find that who controls the couple's labour supply plays a crucial role in establishing this link. If spouses choose their labour supply non-cooperatively, only the husband's increase – but not her own decrease – in labour supply introduces a negative term in the wife's change in welfare. If the wife does not control her own labour supply, a decrease in her own labour supply introduces an additional negative term.

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