Professor Listing

June-2013-com

Melville L McMillan, PhD, MSc, BA

Professor Emeritus

Arts

Economics

About Me

Basic Information

Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics
Fellow, Institute for Public Economics

PhD, Cornell University, 1973
MSc (Agricultural Economics), U of A, 1967
BA (Economics), University of Alberta, 1964


Past Teaching

No longer teaching classes. Last class taught was Econ 353 - Taxation Policy and Structure - during the Winter 2013 term.
Previously, major subjects taught included Public Expenditure (graduate and undergraduate), Fiscal Federalism, Taxation and Cost-Benefit Analysis.


Biography


Melville McMillan is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Economics and a Fellow of the Institute of Public Economics at the University of Alberta.  His BA and MSc are from the University of Alberta and his PhD is from Cornell University.  He was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin (Madison) before joining the University of Alberta in 1975.  McMillan’s research and teaching interests are in public economics and, in particular, public finance, urban and local economics, fiscal federalism, and the demand for and supply of public goods and services.  These interests were the focus of his research while on leaves at the Australian National University, Canberra and at the University of York, England.  He has published extensively in these areas and has also advised governments and organizations nationally and internationally (e.g., the World Bank).  McMillan served as Chair of the Department of Economics from 1987 to 1997.  From 1994 to 2011, he was active as a faculty association representative on the Sponsors Working Group of the Universities’ Academic Pension Plan. Although “retired”, Melville McMillan remains active in academic and policy matters and is usually found in his office in the Department of Economics.



Research

Property Tax Base Composition and Acclamations in Alberta Municipal Elections (with J Sekhon)

 Research Fields

    Public Sector Economics
    Public Finance
    Local, Urban and Regional Economics
    Environmental and Resource Economics


Selected Recent Publications

Latest

     •    “An Alberta Sales Tax: The Inevitable Necessity and the Opportunity to Reset”, Chapter 5 in Facing Alberta’s Fiscal Future: Reflections on a Provincial Sales Tax, Robert Asach (ed.), (forthcoming).
     •    “Provincial Public Infrastructure Spending and Financing in Alberta: Searching for a Better Course”, SPP Research Paper Vol. 11 Issue 10, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, March 2019, (38 pages). https://www.policyschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Searching-for-a-Better-Course-McMillan.pdf 
     *  “What is the Role of Property and Property-Related Taxes? An Assessment of Municipal Property Taxes, Land Transfer Taxes, and Tax Increment Financing”, in Financing the Canadian City, Enid Slack, Lisa Philipps, Lindsay M. Tedds, and Heather L. Evans (eds.), Canadian Tax Foundation and Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, 2019, pp 45-73 (with Bev Dahlby). The portion of the paper on the property tax is reproduced as “The Right Tax for the Job: The Role of Property Taxes in Funding Cities,” IMFG Perspectives, No. 24/2019 (with Bev Dahlby).

     •    “Alberta’s Government Spending: How Big a Problem?”, in the Fiscal Policy Series of the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, October, 2018. https://www.policyschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Fiscal-Trends-AB-Gov-Spending-McMillan.pdf

     *  “Has the City-Rural Tax Base and Land-Use Balance Changed in Alberta? Explorations into the Distribution of Equalized Property Assessments Among Municipality Classes,” SPP Research Paper Vol.11 Issue 6, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, February 2018, (31 pages).  https://www.policyschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Final_City-Rural-Tax-Base-McMillan.pdf

     *  “Taxing Feedlots in Alberta: Lethbridge County’s Tax on Confined Feeding Operations,”SPP     Research Paper Vol. 10 Issue 17, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, November 2017, (23     pages) with Bev Dahlby and Mukesh Khanal. https://www.policyschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Taxing-Feedlots-Dahlby-McMillan-Khanal.pdf (a summary of “Local Taxation of a Locally Concentrated Industry: Lethbridge County’s Tax on Confined Feeding Operations,” School of Public Policy, University of Calgary June 2017; unpublished but available from authors, 105 pages, with Bev Dahlby and Mukesh Khanal).
     *  “Causes of Sprawl”: A (Further) Public Finance Extension, Department of Economics, University of Alberta, October 2017. Available at Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, https://datatoolkits.lincolninst.edu/Portals/0/upload/fiscfiles/McMillan%20(2017)%20-%20Causes%20of%20Sprawl%20-%20A%20Public%20Finance%20Extension.pdf   
     *  “Municipal Revenue Generation and Sprawl: Implications for the Calgary and Edmonton Metropolitan Regions Derived from an Extension of ‘Causes of Sprawl’” (Technical Paper), School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, December 2016 (35 pages)    http://www.policyschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/MRG-Technical-Paper-McMillan1.pdf
     *  “Municipal Revenue Generation and Development in the Calgary and Edmonton Metropolitan Regions,” SPP Research Paper Vol. 9 Issue 39, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, December 2016, (36 pages) with Brian W. Conger and Bev G. Dahlby.   http://www.policyschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/MRG-Development-Conger-Dahlby-McMillan.pdf 
     *  Further Reflections on Alberta’s Capital Spending and Its Finance: Comments on the Dodge Report to the Government of Alberta, October 2015, December 2015. (19 pages). Presented at Institute for Public Policy, University of Alberta, Policy Event, February 2016.https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/institute-for-public-economics---event-material/home or
https://www.ualberta.ca/economics/about-economics/economics-news/2016/march/professor-mel-mcmillan-discusses-the-dodge-report
     *  “Hard Math, Harder Choices: Alberta’s Budget Realities,” Parkland Institute, October 2015. http://www.parklandinstitute.ca/hard_math_harder_choices
     *  “Do Local Governments Need Alternative Sources of Tax Revenue? An Assessment of the Options for Alberta Cities,” and “A Background Paper on Municipal Finance in Alberta,” with Bev Dahlby for the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, 2014. See: “Do Local Governments Need Alternative Sources of Tax Revenue? An Assessment of the Options for Alberta Cities” and “Do Municipal Governments Need More Tax Powers? A Background Paper on Municipal Finance in Alberta”
     *  “Governments’ Non-Renewable Natural Resource Revenue Quandary” or “Whatever Happened to Alberta’s Heritage Savings Trust Fund?”, Paper presented at Managing Resource Wealth Plenary Session of the 32nd United States/International Association for Energy Economics Conference, Anchorage, Alaska, July 28-31, 2013. https://economics.sitecore.ualberta.ca/~/media/economics/FacultyAndStaff   /McMillan_IAEE_Paper_Anchorage_revision_131231.pdf
     *  Background papers contributing to the World Bank’s Public Expenditure Review of Uganda, “Service Delivery with More Districts in Uganda: Fiscal Challenges and Opportunities for Reform,” Report No. AC4421, June 2013.
     *  "Output Instability in Western Canada." Chapter 5 in Boom and Bust Again: Policy Challenges for a Commodity-Based Economy, David Ryan (ed.), (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2013), pp 59-103. (with Bev Dahlby and Kathleen Macaspac).

Some Recent Commentary


    *  “Deficit-Free by 2023!”, Alberta Views, April 2019, pp 36-39.
    *  “Risky Business for Alberta,” Edmonton Journal, November 18, 2015. (with Bob Ascah). http://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-sales-tax-genuine-savings-worth-debating
    *  "Is Inflation Plus Population Growth the Appropriate Fiscal Rule for Alberta (or for other governments)?, July 2015.
    *  “Repeating the Klein Cuts, But in Slo-Mo,” Edmonton Journal , May 4, 2015, p A19. http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Opinion+Repeat+Klein+cuts/11021387/story.html
    *  "Time to Retool?: With another fiscal crisis on its hands, what can the province do?" ATA NEWS 49:11 February 10, 2015.  http://www.teachers.ab.ca/Publications/ATA%20News/Volume%2049%202014-15/Number-11/Pages/Time-to-retool.aspx

Some Recent Presentations

      •    “Provincial Infrastructure and Capital Spending”, at the School of Public Policy Conference, The Challenges and Opportunities for Fiscal Reform in Alberta, Edmonton, February 7, 2019.
      •    “The Alberta Economy and Alberta’s Fiscal Future”, Parkland Institute’s Fall 2018 Conference, Alberta 2019: Forces of Change, November 17, 2018. Also presented to the Probus Club of Central Edmonton, March 19, 2019.
     •    “Repositioning & Restructuring: Challenging & Incremental. Effective?”,  at the Financial Management Institute Conference, Alberta Setting a New Path to Regain Our Competitive Advantage, Edmonton, October 4, 2018.
     *  “An Assessment of Municipal Property and Land Transfer Taxes,” Conference on Funding the Canadian City – A National Dialogue on Municipal Taxation and Fees, Canadian Tax Foundation and Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, University of Toronto, Toronto, February 6-7, 2018. (With Bev Dahlby.)
     *   “Alberta’s Fiscal Alternatives: Are Any Attractive?” Presented at Economics Society of Northern Alberta, April 12, 2017.
     *  “The Anatomy of Municipal Finances: Current and Future,” Conference of the Western Canada Government Finance Officers Association, Kelowna, September 22, 2016 (with Harry Kitchen).
     *  Beyond Dodge -- Further Reflections on Alberta's Capital Spending and Its Finance," Policy Event, Institute for Public Economics, February 29, 2016. https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/institute-for-public-economics---event-material/home
     *  “The Alberta Budget: Kicking the Budget Problem Down the Road (Again),” MacEwan Economics Club, Grant MacEwan University, November 26, 2015.
     *  “Conflict in the Rural-Urban Fringe,” (with Brian Conger and Bev Dahlby), Issues Affecting Mid-Sized Cities, Urban Policy Program of the School of Public Policy, Calgary, June 2-3 2015.
     *  “Another Fiscal Crisis: Whither Now?,” Presented at Red Deer College, sponsored by Fair Vote Canada and Red Deer College Students’ Association, April 21, 2015.
     *  Comments to the Executive Committee, City of Edmonton on The Way We Finance: Debt Finance, November 12, 2014.
     *  Presentation (with Keith Brownsey of Mount Royal University) in session on Performance Measurement and Performance Based Budgeting Provincial Budgeting Conference, School of Public Policy, Edmonton, October 28, 2014.
     *  “Initial Ideas for Consolidating Transfers to Local Government in Uganda,” video conference presentation to Government of Uganda and World Bank officials in Kampala, May 13, 2014.
     *  “Governments’ Non-Renewable Natural Resource Revenue Quandary” or “Whatever Happened to Alberta’s Heritage Savings Trust Fund?,” Paper presented at Managing Resource Wealth Plenary Session of the 32nd United States/International Association for Energy Economics Conference, Anchorage, Alaska, July 28-31, 2013. Presentation available at http://www.usaee.org/usaee2013/submissions/presentations/SR%202013%20US%20events.pdf and https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/mel-mcmillan/publications

Various Book Chapters and Other Publications
  
    *  "Output Instability in Western Canada." in Boom and Bust Again: Policy Challenges for a Commodity-Based Economy, David Ryan (ed.), University of Alberta Press, 2013. (with Bev Dahlby and Kathleen Macaspac).
    *   "Alberta and Equalization: Separating Fact from Fiction" (or, Sorting Out Some Implications and Options in Canadian Federalism), Information Bulletin 155, Western Centre for Economic Research, School of Business, University of Alberta, January, 2012, 85 pp. Reprinted with minor revisions as “Alberta and Equalization: Separating Fact from Fiction” in the fiscal transfer series of the Mowat Certre for Policy Innovation, School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto, March 2012, 76 pp.
    *  "Follow the Money: Where is Alberta's Wealth Going?"  (Calgary: Detselig Enterprises Ltd., 2012) by Kevin Taft with Junaid Jahangir and Melville McMillan. My role was to advise Taft and Jahangir on the data and analysis.
    *  “Dodge and Dion’s ‘Healthcare Spending Disease’: Also a Good News Story,” in Becoming Alberta’s Next Premier: Policy Ideas for Leadership Candidates, Bob Asach (ed.), Institute for Public Economics, Western Centre for Economic Research and Canada West Foundation, June 2011. Pp 10-13. Available at http://www.ipe.ualberta.ca/~/media/ipe/Becoming%20Alberta%20Next%20Prem/AB-Next-Premier-July-2011.pdf .
    *  “Alberta”, in Andrew Sancton and Robert Young (eds.), Foundations of Governance: Municipal Government in Canada’s Provinces, (Toronto : Institute of Public Administration of Canada and University of Toronto Press, 2009), pp. 384-452. (With Edward C. Lesage.)
    *  "A Local Perspective on Fiscal Federalism," in Macro Federalism and Local Finance,   Anwar Shah (ed.), (Washington D.C.: The World Bank, 2008). 245-289.
    *  "Intergovernmental Transfers and Rural Local Governments", Chapter 18 in Robin Boadway and Anwar Shah (eds.), Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers: Principles and Practices, (Washington, D.C., The World Bank, 2007), pp. 511-538.
    *  "Local Government Organization and Finance: Canada," Chapter 2 in Local Governance in Industrialized Countries, Anwar Shah (ed.), (Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006), pp. 41-81.
    *  "Investing for Alberta's Future: Improving the Use of Non-Renewable Resource Revenue in a Resource Rich Province," Chapter 6 in Seizing Today and Tomorrow: An Investment Strategy for Alberta's Future, Roger Gibbins and Robert Roach (eds.), (Calgary: Canada West Foundation, 2006), pp. 73-82.
    *  "Enhancing the Alberta Advantage: A Proposal for a Funded Alberta Pension Plan," for LS Wilson (ed), Alberta: Government Policies in a Surplus Economy, Institute of Public Economics, University of Alberta, 2002, 129-158.

Some Articles

    *  "Canadian Cities: Present Structure and Possible Alternatives," Plan Canada, Vol 56 #2 (Summer, 2016), pp. 22-24.
    *  “Municipal Shared Service Collaboration in the Alberta Capital Region: The Case of Recreation,” Canadian Public Administration, Vol. 51.3, (September, 2008) pp 455-478. (With Edward LeSage and Neil Hepburn.)
    *  "Does Health-Care Spending Crowd Out Other Provincial Expenditures," Canadian Public Policy, Vol. 32, No. 2, (June, 2006), pp. 121-139. (with Stuart Landon, Vijay Muralidharan, and Mark Parsons.)  This paper received the John Vanderkamp Prize for the best article in Canadian Public Policy in 2006.
    *  "Comparing University Efficiency Using Stochastic and Non-stochastic Methods: The Case of Canadian Universities," Education Economics, Vol. 14, No. 1, (March, 2006), pp. 1-30. (with W. Chan.)
    *  "The Impact of Oil and Natural Gas Facilities on Rural Residential Property Values: A Spatial Hedonic Analysis," Resource and Energy Economics, Vol. 27, No. 3, (October, 2005), pp. 248-269. (with P. Boxall and W. Chan.)

Work in Progress

    •    Book: Vol. 1. Local Public Finance and Economics, (Springer/Palgrave/Macmillan), with Harry Kitchen and Anwar Shah, (forthcoming in fall of 2019). Vol. 2.with Brian Dollery, Harry Kitchen and Anwar Shah is underway.
    *  "Preferences for Income Tax Progressivity," (with P Boxall).
  

Some Earlier Publications

    *   "Alberta’s Single Rate Tax: Implications and Alternatives," Canadian Tax Journal, 48, #4, 2000, 1019-52.
    *  "The Relative Efficiencies of Canadian Universities: A DEA Perspective," Canadian Public Policy, Vol. 24, No. 4 (December, 1998), pp. 485-511; with D. Datta.
    *  "Public Output Demands from Alternative Congestion Functions," Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 33 (January 1993), pp. 95-114; with E McGreer.
    *  "Demands for Local Public Sector Outputs in Rural and Urban Municipalities," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol 73 (March 1991), pp. 313-325; with J Amoako-Tuffour.
    *  Provincial Public Finances, Vol. I, Provincial Surveys, Vol. II, Plaudits, Problems and Prospects, (Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation, 1991).
    *  "On Measuring Congestion of Local Public Goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Vol 26 (September 1989), pp. 131-137.
    *  "An Examination of Preferences for Local Public Sector Output," Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol LXX (February 1988), pp. 45-54; with J Amoako-Tuffour.
    *  "The Publicness of Local Public Goods: Evidence from Ontario Municipalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol 14 (November 1981), pp. 596-608; with WR Wilson and LM Arthur.
    *  "An Extension of the Hedonic Approach for Estimating the Value of Quiet," Land Economics, Vol 56 (August 1980), pp. 315-328; with B Reid and D Gillen.


Teaching

No longer teaching classes. Last class taught was Econ 353 - Taxation Policy and Structure - during the Winter 2013 term.
Previously, major subjects taught included Public Expenditure (graduate and undergraduate), Fiscal Federalism, Taxation and Cost-Benefit Analysis.