The Incubated Revolution: Education, Cohort Effects, and the Linguistic Wage Gap in Quebec, 1970 to 2000

I have a new working paper out there. This time, its co-authored with two friends from Quebec (we were undergraduates in economics running in the same circles): Julien Gagnon and Maripier Isabelle. This is a paper we started maybe three or four years ago and we took some time polishing it and improving it (we also got distracted in the process by other projects and newborn kids). However, this is good as the paper had time to mature into what I deem to be one of my favorite papers (after the lighthouse paper with Rosolino Candela).

In this paper, we question the linguistic wage gap between francophones and anglophones in Quebec after 1970. We found out that there was little convergence within birth cohorts over time. Most of the convergence that took place was across birth cohorts. This lead us to propose a different explanation for the convergence. Rather than emphasizing political changes in the 1960s and 1970s, we argue that educational reforms in the 1940s sowed the seeds of convergence. The abstract is below and the SSRN version of the working paper can be foundhere:

The wage gap between higher-earning English-speaking workers and those of the French-speaking majority, that had long characterized Quebec’s labour market, vanished between 1970 and 2000. We unveil a new empirical fact: the closing of the wage gap occurred through the replacement of older generations of workers by younger ones whose earnings were more equal. To explain this, we rely on a two-sector economy model characterized by linguistic barriers and capital mobility. The model not only explains the new fact but is also consistent with the timing of policy changes in the domain of education.


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