In playing with my data from my book, I found that I could have done a measure of productivity growth in Quebec relative to Ontario by using man-hours. In short, I have estimates of Gross National Product, Personal Income, Personal Disposable Income and hours worked, total employment on average by workers in manufacturing. Sadly, I don’t have data for hours in all sectors, but its a start for approximation. I divided all the figures for output by the sum of employment and average hours (total man-hours) to get a figure of productivity. What are the results? See the graph below:
What do I see in this graph? The following three points:
- Quebec was more productive in 1960 relative to Ontario than it was in 1946
- Quebec had very fast productivity growth in the 1950s
- The relative drop from 1947 to 1950 is I believe the result of wartime adjustments. Quebec obtained a smaller share of military production and employment than other provinces, the costs it had of adapting its economy back to peacetime production was smaller than in Ontario. That is my hypothesis and the topic of maybe another research paper.
Such a fast pace of productivity growth meant that the economic progression of Quebec relative to Ontario is not a statistical fluke but rather a genuine statistical reality that cannot be refuted. Especially since this period “convergence” upon Ontario’s level is the first period in Quebec’s history where Quebec has caught up rather than slipped back.