Fraser Institute News Release: Per-person spending in Newfoundland and Labrador increased from $3,072 to $15,019 (in 2021 inflation-adjusted dollars) since 1965

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland and Labrador, Feb. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- From 1965 to 2021, per-person spending in Newfoundland and Labrador increased substantially from $3,072 (in 2021 inflation-adjusted dollars) to $15,019, finds a new report published today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“An effective way of measuring a government’s fiscal policy is by comparing per-person program spending by various Premiers,” said Alex Whalen, senior economist with the Fraser Institute and co-author of Newfoundland and Labrador Premiers and Provincial Government Spending.

This study reviews annual per-person program spending (inflation-adjusted) by Newfoundland and Labrador premiers from 1965 to 2021, and finds that the highest per-person spending on record was under Premier Joey Smallwood, with a 14.3 per cent average annual change in per person spending—substantially higher than the premier with the next largest increase, Danny Williams at 7.8 per cent.

Overall, Kathy Dunderdale, at -1.5 per cent, and Tom Marshall, at -1.9 per cent, are the only premiers who reduced spending by a meaningful amount during their tenure.

Current Premier Andrew Furey essentially held spending flat, at -0.1 per cent during the 2020-2021 period (the latest year of available data).

“The intention is to provide a historical analysis of this key measure of government fiscal policy,” said Whalen.

“It will be important to see how per-person inflation-adjusted spending develops in Atlantic Canada moving forward.”

Alex Whalen, Senior Economist
Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit