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Areas of Focus

Charities and Charitable Giving

What motivates individuals to give? PEDAL researchers are working on topics that cover understanding such things as what affects individual giving and the operations of charities. If the government gives a charity a grant, what happens to private giving to that charity and how are charities fundraising efforts affected? If there is a natural disaster, what happens to charitable giving to charities that provide relief services and what happens to the support of local charities? When an individual asks her friends, families, and colleagues to donate to a particular charity, do they? If they do, what happens to their giving to other charities? As Canada's neighbourhoods become more diverse, what happens to charitable giving? These are examples of the types of questions researchers are asking. PEDAL researchers are using data from Canadian, US, and UK sources for their research on charities and charitable giving.

Charity surveys

PEDAL researchers have teamed with and to learn more about online giving and fundraising pages. In Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere, charities and individuals play an important role in helping individuals and promoting social welfare, the arts, the environment, the development of youth, the support of those in need, and other goods and services that are not easily provided in the for-profit marketplace. Our research will help us understand better what encourages giving, how government policies can affect giving, and how charities can provide a high level of goods and services.

See summary of survey responses for Canadian donors here.

See summary of survey responses for Canadian charities here.

NEW: See summary of survey responses for the U.K. fundraisers, sponsors, and donors here.

Elementary/Secondary Education

PEDAL researchers have been using administrative data from Ontario and BC to study issues concerning the public school competition, the effects of relative age on test scores, the effects of teacher strikes on test scores, the effects of ESL funding on student performance, and the effects of school board consolidation on student performance. Our researchers are pursuing the linking of data from early childhood surveys and student performance on standardized tests to understand better the role of early childhood educational programs on student performance.

Post-Secondary Education

What are the key determinants for pursuing a Post-Secondary Education Degree? Why is there a difference in PSE participation between boys and girls? How do scholarships and financial aid policies affect PSE participation? Are there key determinants for success in university? Our researchers have been studying these questions and are engaged in a multi-year project to bring together data from several sources to study issues pertaining to access to and persistence in post-secondary education.

Elections and lobbying

PEDAL researchers are engaged in projects that seek to measure the influence of special interest groups on Canadian public policy and model the effects of elections on public finances.

PEDAL in Print

You will find published journal articles, reports, commentaries, working papers, and other media reports produced by members and affiliates of PEDAL.


"Choice of Ontario high schools and student sorting by ability", by Phil Leonard, Applied Economics, DOI:10.1080/00036846.2015.1047087, 2015.

"Choice of Ontario high schools and its impact on university applications", by Phil Leonard, Education Economics, 23:4, 433-454, 2015. DOI: 10.1080/09645292.2013.856869

“Government Funding and Private Charitable Donations: The Canadian Experience,” by Abigail Payne, Research in Public Policy Issue 16, Centre for Markets and Public Organisations, University of Bristol, Autumn 2013.

“Persistence and Academic Success in University”, by Martin Dooley, Abigail Payne, and Les Robb, Canadian Public Policy 38(3): 315-337, September 2012.

“The Impact of Cost on the Choice of University”, by Martin Dooley, Abigail Payne, and Les Robb, Canadian Journal of Economics 45(2):755-783, May 2012.

"Is Crowding Out Due Entirely to Fundraising? Evidence from a Panel of Charities", by James Andreoni and Abigail Payne, Journal of Public Economics, 95(5-6): 334-343, June 2011.


"The Effectiveness of Tutorials in Large Classes: Do they matter?", by Karen Menard, Bridget O'Shaughnessy, Abigail Payne, Olesya Kotlyachkov, and Bradley Minaker.

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, June 2015

Full report

"Understanding the Gender Gap in Postsecondary Education Participation The Importance of High School Choices and Outcomes", by David Card, and A. Abigail Payne. 

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, April 2015.

Full report

"Understanding the Determinants of Academic Success in Apprenticeship Programs at Mohawk College", by Martin Dooley and Abigail Payne

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, December 2013

Full report

"The Impact of Scholarships and Bursaries on Persistence and Academic Success in University", by Martin Dooley, Abigail Payne and Leslie Robb.

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, January 2013

This research project conducted by A. Payne, M. Dooley, and L. Robb finds that scholarships and bursaries, while attracting stronger students to a particular university, have a very limited effect on promoting student success and degree completion.

Full report 

"Changing Landscapes for Charities in Canada: Where Should We Go?"

Full report  / Newswire article

The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, November 2012

"Understanding the Gender Gap in University Participation: An Exploration of the Application Behaviour of Ontario High School Students”, by David Card, Abigail Payne, and Cristina Sechel.

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, August 2011

Full report

"Understanding the Determinants of Persistence and Academic Success in University: An Exploration of Data from Four Ontario Universities", by Martin Dooley, Abigail Payne and Leslie Robb.

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, June 2011

Full report