Michael Smith

Photo of Michael SmithJames McGill Professor of Sociology

Stephen Leacock Building, Room 712
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2T7

Tel.: 514-398-6849
Fax: 514-398-7276
E-Mail: michael [dot] smith [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Michael Smith)
Office: Leacock 841

Research Areas

Economy and Society, Labour Markets, Inequality



(PhD, Brown University, 1976).

Professor Smith came to McGill in 1974. His research has dealt with, among other things, organizational structures, industrial disputes, the politics of macroeconomic policy, trade and its social consequences, economic policy in Quebec, labour market functioning, flexibility and training, economic security and its consequences, the labour market outcomes of immigrants, and the North American pulp and paper industry. In 1997 he was awarded an Overseas Research Fellowship by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa. In the Fall of 2002 he was a Chercheur invité at the Université de Montréal, in the Spring of 2003 a Visiting Research Fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences of the Australian National University, in 2004-2005 he was Virtual Scholar in Residence with the Law Commission of Canada, and in Fall of 2006 he was Visiting Fellow at Flinders University of South Australia. In January 2005 he was awarded a James McGill Professorship.

He has two major current research projects. One, with Bill Martin and Sue Richardson of Flinders University, deals with income and behaviour after job loss in Canada and Australia, using comparable panel data sets from the two countries. This project is funded by the SSHRC. The other, with Claire Durand of the University of Montreal, using another panel data set, examines differences between Quebec and other Canadian provinces in the characteristics and outcomes of training. This project is funded by the Programme de subvention à la recherche appliquée of the Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale. With his Ph.D. students, Yoko Yoshida and Magali Girard, he also continues his work on the labour market outcomes of immigrants.


Selected Publications

Claire Durand, Yves-Emmanuel Massé-François, Michael R. Smith, and Luis Patricio Pena Ibarra.. 2016. “Who is aboriginal? Variability in self-identification between the Census and the APS in 2006 and 2012." Aboriginal Policy Studies 6: 3-33.

Michael R. Smith. 2016 “Post-industrial society.” In George Ritzer (ed.), Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd edition, Oxford: Wiley.

Michael R. Smith (dir.). 2014. Les anglophones au Québec. Numéro thématique de  Recherches sociographiques 40 (3).

Michael R. Smith. 2014. “Présentation: Les anglophones au Québec.” Recherches sociographiques. 40: 455-465.

Michael R. Smith. 2013. “Issues in the analysis of inequality.” Population Change and Lifecourse Strategic Knowledge Cluster Discussion Paper Vol. 1: Iss.1, Article 3.

Magali Girard and Michael R. Smith. 2013. “Working in a regulated occupation in Canada: An immigrant - native-born comparison.” Journal of International Migration and Integration 14: 219-244.

Marie-Eve Gagnon and Michael R. Smith. 2013. “The effects of a training levy on training outcomes: The case of Quebec.” Relations industrielles/Industrial Relations 68: 120-141.

Nicole Denier and Michael R. Smith. 2012. “Income after job-loss in the United States: From program rules to panel data.” Social Policy and Administration 46: 748-768.

Heather Zhang and Michael R. Smith. 2012. “Globalization and workplace performance in Canada: Cross-sectional and dynamic analyses of productivity and wage outcomes.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 30: 310-327.

Christine Doucet, Michael R. Smith, and Claire Durand. 2012. “Pay structure, female representation and the gender pay gap among university professors.” Relations industrielles/Industrial Relations 67: 51-75.

Michael R. Smith and Heather Zhang. 2011. “On the use of indicators of the generosity of unemployment compensation in quantitative, cross-national research.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 52: 413-430.

Heather Zhang and Michael R. Smith. 2010. “Exposure to global markets, internal labour markets, and worker compensation: Evidence from Canadian microdata.” Canadian Journal of Sociology, 35: 371-398.

Michael R. Smith and Marie-Ève Gagnon. 2010. Les différences interprovinciales dans les pratiques de formation et leurs résultats. Rapport au Programme de subvention à la recherche appliquée du Ministère de l’emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (87 page report, 118 page appendix).

Magali Girard and Michael R. Smith. 2009. “Working in a regulated occupation in Canada: An immigrant - native-born comparison.” Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network Working Paper no.44.

Magali Girard, Michael R. Smith, and Jean Renaud. 2008. “Intégration économique des nouveaux immigrants: adéquation entre l’emploi occupé avant l’arrivée au Québec et les emplois occupés depuis l’immigration.” Canadian Journal of Sociology, 33(4): 791-814.

Yoko Yoshida and Michael R. Smith. 2008. “Measuring and mismeasuring discrimination against visible minority immigrants: The role of workplace experience.” Canadian Studies in Population, Vol.35: 311-338.

Christine Doucet, Claire Durand, and Michael R. Smith. 2008. “Who gets market supplements? Gender differences within a large Canadian university.” Canadian Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 38: 67-103.

Michael R. Smith. 2008. “Global society.” Pp.552-576 in Lorne Tepperman, James Curtis, and Patrizia Albanese (eds.), Sociology: A Canadian Perspective (2nd. edition). Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Yoko Yoshida and Michael R. Smith, “Training and the earnings of immigrant males: Evidence from the Canadian Workplace and Employee Survey.” Social Science Quarterly, Vol.86, 2005.

Michael R. Smith, Michelle Hsieh, and Yoko Yoshida, “Inégalités salariales, mobilité salariale, et commerce international au Québec et en Ontario.” Recherches sociographiques , Vol.46, 2005.

Michael R. Smith, “On the use of the prisoners’ dilemma to analyze the relations between employment security, trust, and effort.” Pp.145-168 in Axel van den Berg and Hudson Meadwell (eds.), The Social Sciences and Rationality: Promise, Limits, and Problems. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2004. (Reprint of article of the same title published in 2000.)

Michael R. Smith, “High performance work organizations in theory and practice.” Global Business and Economics Review, Vol.4, 2002: 187-204.

Michael R. Smith, “Les problèmes attribués à la théorie du choix rationnel.” Sociologie et sociétés, Vol.34, 2002: 87-99.

Michael R. Smith, “The analysis of labor markets in Canadian sociology.” American Sociologist. Vol.33, 2002: 105-125,

Michael R. Smith, “Income inequality and economic growth in rich countries: A reconsideration of the evidence.” Current Sociology, Vol.50, 2002: 573-593.

Michael R. Smith, “La mondialisation: a-t-elle un effet important sur le marché du travail dans les pays riches?” In Daniel Mercure (ed.), Une société monde? Les dynamiques sociales de la mondialisation. Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2001: 201-214.

Michael R. Smith, “What did the FTA and the NAFTA do to the Canadian labor market?” Forum for Social Economics, Vol.30, 2001: 25-50.

Michael R. Smith, “Technological change, the demand for skills, and the adequacy of their supply.” Canadian Public Policy, Vol.27, 2001: 1-22.

Michael R. Smith, "On the use of the prisoners' dilemma to analyze the relations between employment security, trust, and effort." Review of Social Economy, Vol.58, 2000: 153-176.

Axel van den Berg, Anthony C. Masi, Joseph Smucker, and Michael R. Smith, “Manufacturing change: A two country, three industry comparison.” Acta Sociologica, Vol.43, 2000: 139-156.

Michael R. Smith, "How the internal flexibility of plants in the U.S. paper industry was increased and what it tells us about the effects of employment security." Journal of Socio-Economics, Vol.28, 1999: 691-705.

Michael R. Smith, “What is the effect of technological change on earnings inequality?” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol.19 (9/10/11), 1999: 24-59.

Michael R. Smith, "The production of flexible attitudes in the Canadian pulp and paper industry." Relations industrielles/Industrial Relations, Vol.54, 1999: 583-610.

Michael R. Smith, "Insecurity in the labour market: The case of Canada since the second world war." Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.24, 1999: 193-224.

Michael R. Smith and Geoffrey T. Wood, "The end of apartheid and the organization of work in manufacturing plants in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province." Work, Employment, & Society, Vol.12, 1998: 479-495.

Joseph Smucker, Axel van den Berg, Michael R. Smith, and Anthony C. Masi "Labour deployment within plants in Sweden and Canada: A three industry comparison." Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, Vol.53, 1998: 430-457.

Axel van den Berg, Anthony C. Masi, Michael R. Smith, and Joseph Smucker, "To cut or not to cut: A cross-national comparison of attitudes towards wage flexibility." Work and Occupations, Vol.25, 1998: 49-73. Reprinted in Daniel B. Cornfield, Karen E. Campbell, and Holly McCammon (eds.), Working in Restructured Workplaces: Challenges and New Directions for the Sociology of Work. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2001: pp.349-366.

Michael R. Smith, Anthony C. Masi, and Paula Came-Lemay, "The determinants of blue collar wage rates: An analysis of a data set incorporating observed job characteristics." Labour Vol.11, 1997: 113-139.

Michael R. Smith, Anthony C. Masi, Axel van den Berg, and Joseph Smucker, "Insecurity, labour relations and flexibility in two process industries: A Canada/Sweden comparison." Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.22, 1997: 31-63.

Michael R. Smith "How important are internal labour markets and how do we know?" In Axel van den Berg and Joseph Smucker (eds.), The Sociology of Labour Markets: Efficiency, Equity, Security. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1997: 367-384.

Michael R. Smith "Social class and macroeconomic performance since the end of the 1980s." Pp. 119-145 in Wendy Bottero (ed.), Post-Class Society, Cambridge: Sociological Research Group, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, 1996.

Michael R. Smith, Anthony C. Masi, Axel van den Berg, and Joseph Smucker "External flexibility in Sweden and Canada: A three industry comparison." Work, Employment & Society, Vol.9, 1995: 689-718.

Michael R. Smith, "L'impact de Québec Inc., répartition des revenus et l'efficacité économique." Sociologie et sociétés, Vol.26 (1994): 91-110. Reprinted in Jean-Pierre Dupuis (ed.), Le modèle québécois de développement économique. Débats sur son contenu, son efficacité et ses liens avec les modes de gestion des entreprises, pp. 39-66. Cap-Rouge: Les Presses Inter Universitaires (1995).

Michael R. Smith, Power, Norms and Inflation: A Skeptical Treatment. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, (1992).

Richard B. Bernard and Michael R. Smith "Hiring, promotion and pay in a corporate head office: An internal labour market in action?" Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.16 (1991): 353-374.

Michael R. Smith, "What is new in ‘new structuralist’ analyses of earnings?" American Sociological Review, Vol.55 (1990): 827-841.

Michael R. Smith, 1992, Implications of a Single European Market: Specialty Chemical Products, New Materials, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology. Ottawa: External Affairs and International Trade Canada (1990).

Michael R. Smith, "L'accord de libre échange." L'Analyste, Vol.28 (1989): 22-32. (French version of "A sociological appraisal of the free trade agreement".)

Michael R. Smith, "Marchak on free trade: A response." Canadian Public Policy, Vol.15 (1989): 339-344.

Michael R, Smith, "Technologizing office work." Transaction/Society, Vol.26 (1989): 65-72.

Michael R. Smith, "A sociological appraisal of the free trade agreement." Canadian Public Policy, Vol.15 (1989): 57-71. Reprinted in Ronald Hinch (ed.), Debates in Canadian Society, Pp. 136-148, Scarborough, Ontario: Nelson Canada (1992).

Michael R. Smith, "Wages and inflation in Quebec." Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, Vol.25 (1988): 577-602.

Michael R. Smith, "The political bases of inflation in Canada." Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.12 (1987): 363-392.

Michael R. Smith, "Work." Pp. 391-424 in Michael Rosenberg, William B. Shaffir, Allan Turowetz and Morton Weinfeld (eds.), An Introduction to Sociology. Toronto: Methuen (1987).

Michael R. Smith, "Accounting for inflation (again)." British Journal of Sociology, Vol.36 (1985): 77-80.

Axel van den Berg and Michael R. Smith, "Correcting Cuneo's corrections." Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, Vol.21 (1984): 92-97.

Michael R. Smith, "Accounting for inflation in Britain." British Journal of Sociology, Vol.33 (1982): 301-329.

Axel van den Berg and Michael R. Smith, "On 'class exploitation' in Canada." Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, Vol.19 (1982): 263-278.

Michael R. Smith, "The transformation of labour relations in Quebec: An analysis." Pp. 355-378 in Katherine Lundy and Barbara Warme (eds.), Work in the Canadian Context: Continuity despite Change. Toronto: Butterworths (1982).

Michael R. Smith, "Industrial conflict in post-war Ontario or one cheer for the Woods Report." Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, Vol.18 (1981): 370-392.

Michael R. Smith, "Characterizations of Canadian strikes: Some critical comments." Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, Vol.34 (1979): 592-607.

Michael R. Smith, "Institutional setting and industrial conflict in Quebec." American Journal of Sociology

, Vol.85 (1979): 109-134.

Michael R. Smith, "A comment on Knight's 'Work orientation and mobility ideology in the working class'." Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.4 (1978): 155-161.

Michael R. Smith, "The effects of strikes on workers: A critical analysis." Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.3 (1978): 457-472.

Michael R. Smith, "Profits and administrative intensity: A longitudinal analysis." Sociology, Vol.12 (1978) 509-521.

Michael R. Smith, "Coordinating divided labor: A re-examination." Sociological Focus, Vol.11 (1978): 143-160.

Review Essays

John A. Hall and Michael R. Smith “The political and economic consequences of Mr. Keynes.” A review of Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed: 1883-1920. New York: Penguin Books,1983; Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: The Economist as Saviour, 1920-1937. London: Macmillan,1992

Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946. London: Macmillan, 2000. Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vo.27 (2002): 245-268.

Michael R. Smith, “What is to be done? And do we have any choice?” A review of Keith G. Banting, editor, The Nonprofit Sector in Canada: Roles and Relationships. Kingston, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, 2000; Thomas J. Courchene, editor, Room to Manoeuvre? Globalization and Policy Convergence, Montreal and Kingston, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999; David B. Knight and Alun E. Joseph, editors, Restructuring Societies: Insights from the Social Sciences, Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1999. Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.25 (2000): 236-251.

Axel van den Berg and Michael R. Smith, "The Marxist theory of the state in practice." A review of Paul Craven, An Impartial Umpire: Industrial Relations and the Canadian State 1900-1911. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980. Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.6 (1981): 505-519.

Miscellaneous Publications

Michael R. Smith, "Les Québécois satisfaits de leur emploi." La Presse, Samedi 25 Juillet, 1998: B4.

Paul Bélanger and Michael R. Smith, "Entre la fin et l'avenir du travail." La Presse, Samedi 25 Juillet, 1998: B1.

Michael R. Smith, "What is the effect of information technology on the organization of office work and why?" McGill Working Papers on Social Behaviour 88-1 (1988).

Anthony C. Masi and Michael R. Smith, "Emerging life patterns of women in Canada: Evidence on demographic, economic, and social conditions." McGill Working Papers on Social Behaviour, 89-4 (1989).


Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses:
SOCI 199 Transition From School To Work
SOCI 235 Technology and Society
SOCI 420 Organizations
SOCI 470 Topics in Economic Sociology


Other Professional Activities

Visiting Fellow, Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, Australian National University, January-May, 2010.

Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, September-December, 2009.

Present Member, Commission de l’enseignement et de la recherche universitaires of the Conseil supérieur de l’éducation

Present Member, Editorial Board of Québec Studies (Journal of the American Council for Quebec Studies)

Present Member, Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of Sociology

Present Membre, Comité de rédaction, Recherches sociographiques

Present Member, Comité des programmes of the Quebec Ministry of Education.

Present Member, Programme d'études québécoises committee.


Talks and Conference Presentations

“What do recent trends in inequality suggest about the utility of categorical class analysis?” Presented to the Social Stratification Research Seminar, University of Utrecht, September, 2010.

“Do we have an adequate explanation of the recent financial crisis?” Presented at the meetings of the Society for the Advancement of Social Economics, Philadelphia, June, 2010.

“Gender and pay within the professoriate: A Canadian case study.” Presented to the Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, May, 2010.

“Gender and the earnings of faculty members: Evidence from a Canadian university, in comparative perspective.” Presented to the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, Australian National University, March 2010.

“Lies, damned lies, .... and the use of statistics in the social sciences.” Presented to the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities Colloquium (ASH), Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, November 2009.

“What do we know about the relative generosity of welfare states?” Presented to the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, October, 2009.