Information in the Labour Market: Job-Worker Matching and Its Implications for Education in Ontario


190 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-8020-3403-9




Reviewed by Ross Willmot

Ross Willmot is Executive Director of the Ontario Association for
Continuing Education.


These two members of the Economics Department of the University of Western Ontario here present timely research recommending general federal subsidies to on-the-job training in the initial years of working life. They “see no reason why the strategy of exploiting the market mechanism to get the right mix and amount of different forms of training could not be applied to manpower training as well as to more formal training.”

Regarding provincial policy toward universities and colleges, the authors recommend the following: 1) the institutions should have full control oven tuition fees; 2) they should be given full control over which programs are offered; and 3) at university level, a return to a formula of 100 percent reliance on a moving average of current enrolments for determining operating grants should be restored.

The authors recognize that such measures would undoubtedly increase the exposure of post-secondary institutions to market forces. “Use of the price mechanism could actually reduce the amplitude of enrolment swings and would cushion the institution from the effects of changes in the structure of enrolment demand... With flexible fees.. an increase in price can be used both to choke off the excess demand and to raise the revenue required to expand without reducing quality.”

The study points out that a great deal of the current activity in our education and training systems is more accurately characterized as investment in information rather than in vocational skills. The rapid, perhaps increasing, pace of technological change may lead students to conclude they are better off investing to a greater extent in person-specific information and to a lesser extent in narrow skills that may rapidly become obsolete.

The study is supported by intensive examinations of economic models of education described in language probably beyond the understanding of the ordinary reader. A bibliography is included.


Davies, James B., and Glenn M. MacDonald, “Information in the Labour Market: Job-Worker Matching and Its Implications for Education in Ontario,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024,