How bad were Quebec’s French farmers in the 1830s? (With M. Hinton and V. Kufenko)

My most recent paper on farming in Canada in the 19th century. It concerns the “agricultural crisis” of the early decades of the century which has often been blamed on the cultural peculiarities of the French-Canadian population (which formed the majority of the population of Lower Canada). We find that the few who did stress that culture was not an issue were correct, even if they had used data which was not the best suited to make the claims they made. We also find that, hidden behind noise in the raw data, there is a gap in TFP between areas living under French laws and British laws (with the latter having an advantage).

You can read the paper here and the abstract below

Abstract: This paper uses a novel dataset drawn from the census of 1831 for Lower Canada to question the conventional view that French-Canadian culture was to blame for a prolonged economic crisis. The new evidence shows that there were no important differences in farming efficiency across cultural lines. However, using an instrumental variable approach, we find that productivity differences did exist along institutional lines. (K11, K20, N11, N51, O4)

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