Safoura Moeeni

Assistant Professor

Department of Economics

University of Manitoba

Safoura.Moeeni [at] umanitoba[dot] ca


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Phone: +1 (204)474-8568 (office)


University of Manitoba, Department of Economics, Fletcher Argue Building (547), 15 Chancellors Circle, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 5V5 

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Manitoba (MB, Canada). I received my  Ph.D. in Economics in 2019 from the University of Calgary (AB, Canada), where I was awarded for best dissertation. Before joining UoM, I was an Assistant Professor at the University of Regina (SK, Canada). I also spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow in 2020 at Mount Allison University (NB, Canada).  

Research Interests

I am an empirical microeconomist with interests in Labor Economics, Economics of the Family, and Development Economics. My research is on the interactive effects of changes in labor markets and households' decisions with a focus on the gender dimension of these changes. In terms of methodology, I use both designed-based and model-based approaches. In particular, in my most recent project, I combine these two approaches of empirical economics. 

More about my research here.

A copy of my CV is available  here.

Upcoming conferences and seminars (2024):

Working Papers 


    (Awarded  the fourth prize of the 2021 Best Young-Researcher Award, Canadian Labour Economics Forum)    

      (Awarded the 2015 James D. Gaisford Research Prize for the best second-year paper, University of Calgary)

Policy Reports and Papers:

PhD Thesis:

Essays on Family Economics and Human Capital Development, Supervisors:  Atsuko Tanaka and Alexander Whalleycommittee members: Pamela Campa and Eugene Choo, University of Calgary, June 2019

              (Awarded  the 2018 Dissertation Award, University of Calgary; 2020 CAGS/UMI Nominee by the Department of Economics)    

Selected Work in Progress

Summary: Despite a remarkable convergence in the economic roles of men and women, the labour market gender gaps (e.g., gender wage gap) have been a persistent phenomenon in most countries. Canada has one of the biggest gender wage gaps among 43 OECD developed countries. This gap narrowed down in the period between the 1970s and early 1990s, then plateaued around 20% since. The factors used to explain the gender gap have lost their significance e.g., women are now more educated than men. Moreover, about two­ thirds of this persistent plateaued gender gap remains unexplained i.e., women and men are paid differently even when they have similar education, work experience, and work in the same occupation and similar types of firms. One possible cause of gender inequality in payment is motherhood known as child penalty that can occur through labour supply and demand channels. The mechanisms of the negative effect of children on women’s earnings are not limited to after childbirth. On the supply side of the labour market, even before childbirth women may choose family ­friendly but lower paying jobs. On the demand side of the labour market, the prospect of childbirth could incline firms to consider female workers with weaker job attachment which results in lower wages offer. While parental benefit policies as a remedy to child penalty enabled women to combine careers and motherhood, they were not successful to close the gender gap in labour market outcomes. In this study, I focus on fertility and parental leave decisions as an explanation for the remaining gender pay gap in Canada. This research has two primary objectives: (1) to evaluate the mechanisms underlying households’ and firms’ decisions by taking into account their interactive effects (2) to design labour and family policies that can target the gender issue at its sources. I quantify both labour supply and demand channels and interactive effects to provide a better understanding of what causes the child penalty in Canada. Extending recent studies, this research project shed light on the sources of the gender gap on both sides of the labour market, and highlight the interactive effects. The mechanisms that are studied in this paper provide directions on policy design. I evaluate several counterfactual family and labour policies. 

Summary: In addition to a reduction in overall birth rates in Canada, highly educated and high earning women are also having fewer children because of their higher opportunity costs. Starting July 2016 the Universal Child Care Benefit has been replaced by Canada Child Benefit policy in which the benefit depends on the number of children and adjusted family net income such as high earning women will receive less child benefit. I structurally estimate a model for fertility and combine the model with the exogenous variation caused by 2016 Canada Child Benefit policy to investigate the effects of alternative child benefit policies. The goal is to create a model which allows policy-makers to identify different type of women and design specific interventions to efficiently target them.

Summary: The risk of becoming unemployed and losing earnings is a major source of income uncertainty and welfare loss. Although the positive effects of unemployment insurance (UI) policies on individuals’ welfare are well-known, the optimal design of UI is a hotly debated issue as there is an insurance-incentive tradeoff. In this study, we evaluate the mechanisms underlying claimants’ labour supply decisions visàvis the incentives implicitly embedded into the claim rules of UI programs. In addition, we provide guidance on the design of more efficient UI programs by considering their welfare effects. We rely on variations in the rules of Canada’s Working While on Claim (WWC) to conduct the study. WWC allows a claimant to earn money by working up to a threshold of earnings, above which their UI benefits begin to be deducted dollar for dollar. Between 2005 and 2016, the government tested several rule changes regarding the earnings threshold to assess whether different rules on claims can encourage claimants to work more while on the program. We evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the WWC program. The result of this analysis provides directions on designing effective policies that can simultaneously reduce the welfare loss of unemployment and increase labour supply and earnings of claimants. We will give specific recommendations to set the level of the exemption threshold, and the rate at which benefits are reduced in order to achieve a particular policy goal.

Summary: Although, equality in health is attracting increasing attention on national and global policy agendas, few countries have systematically improved health equality. In this study, I examine the effectiveness of two key policies (cash transfer program and health insurance) on the health inequality. The mechanism of the effect of these two policies on households decisions are different. A cash transfer program gives households greater freedom to use the benefits in a way that suits their specific situation. However, the cash transfer is difficult to target. For instance, young people might prefer to spend the money on their investment portfolio. Unlike cash transfer programs, in a health insurance plan benefits are not paid directly in cash. Instead, the individuals receive health services for free or at a reduced rate. Thus, it can force individuals to take advantage of health services that they should use - but might not if they had the choice. However, a health insurance does not give individuals the choice. Moreover, the effects of these polices depend on their effects on prices and income elasticity of spending on health.