The Equally “Bad” French and English Farmers of Quebec: New TFP Measures from the 1831 Census

I have had many iterations of this paper. Each time a draft was made, we cut it down to answer fewer questions. The more we worked on it, the more we realized that the endeavor to explain agricultural productivity differences and the agricultural crisis of Canada from 1800 to 1850 required numerous separate papers. As a result, we opted to cut down this paper to only one question: were French-Canadian farmers “worse” than English-Canadian farmers at the height of the agricultural crisis (1831). Our answer is that, no they were not.

The paper can be consulted here on Academia. It has an extensive appendix on our data computations and our control variables. To our knowledge, it is the first that such an exhaustive empirical strategy has been used for early Canadian history. The key table can be seen here below and confirm that the differences in TFP are minimal.



New Paper: Living Standards in Canada, 1831

I have a new paper regarding the measurement of living standards in Lower Canada (modern-day Quebec) in 1831. I use the census of 1831 which is rich in that it offers a wide cross-sectional of wages and prices across the colony. We found that Canadians were substantially poorer than the Americans in Boston and Philadelphia and that within the colony, there were wide variations in living standards. The paper can be found at  Below, you will also find the map of our results for Quebec, a table of the distribution of wages and the comparison with the United States. 12874460_10153341659956507_1736134920_o

Wages in Canada


Debt to GDP Ratio Quebec from 1926 to 1959

To continue with my preceding post of Friday on Quebec’s debt between 1900 and 1959, I am publishing the debt-to-GDP ratio which sadly can only begin in 1926 since the only series I have with regard to provincial domestic product begins in 1926. However, it is quite telling that in 1959, Quebec’s debt stood only at 4.64% of GDP. At the start of the war, the figure increased dramatically to slightly above 24 %. This is quite telling because it illustrates how the government of Quebec grew massively during the 1930s (it did grow as I will show in future weeks).

However, I wish to make an “accounting comment”. As I have argued in earlier posts on this blog, wartime GDP (and GNP) measures are wholly inaccurate since it is hard to assign a value to weapons and munitions whose sole consumers will be enemy soldiers. I do not consider it a good measure of  “valuable” economic output.  I am currently working to imitate the Higgs/Kuznets of GNP and GDP figures for wartime periods, but for the time being, please take this GDP series as the most accurate there is.

Quebec’s gross debt from 1900 to 1959

Computing data collected from the statistical archives of the National Library of Quebec, I have managed to get a data serie on Quebec’s real gross debt between 1900 and 1959 (after 1959, the data is more easily available online). I have used my previously constructed wholesale price index to provide the real terms up to 1919, and then I have used Statistics Canada’s series which begins in 1914. I have first indexed the two series at 1914 and then averaged the two of them for the overlapping years. Then, all that was needed was to index to 1959. So first, here comes the series of data for nominal gross debt

And now, the gross debt of the province of Quebec in real dollars (1959)