Living Standards in Lower Canada, 1831

A few months ago, I posted the first version of a paper that considered the issue of living standards in Lower Canada in 1831. It was co-authored with Vadim Kufenko and Remy Villeneuve. Since then, we have reworked the paper and integrated it with another paper. In this paper, we also ask the question of whether or not seigneurial tenure (the peculiar institution of Lower Canada) could have mattered. The abstract is below and the paper can be found here.

This paper uses the price and wage data contained in the 1831 census of Lower Canada to provide regional estimates of disparities in living standards within Quebec in 1831. Combining these data with price data for the colony as a whole, we compare living standards in Quebec with those of numerous American and Canadian cities at the same point in time. The results show that Quebec was overall poorer in comparison. However, there are wide variations within the colony—mostly along institutional lines. As a whole, Quebec was significantly poorer than the United States at the same time.


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