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The Engine or the Caboose? Resource Industries and Twentieth-Century Canadian Economic Performance

Ian Keay

The Journal of Economic History, 2007, vol. 67, issue 1, 1-32

Abstract: The Canadian economy, already wealthy, diverse, and relatively industrial at the dawn of the twentieth century, had not yet outgrown its reliance on resource-intensive production. Empirical evidence indicates that the exploitation of Canada's natural resource endowment made direct and indirect contributions to the size and efficiency of the twentieth-century domestic economy. I conclude that the concentration of capital and labor in resource industries did not constrain the rate of change of Canadian real GNP per capita between 1900 and 1999, and it appears to have had a substantial positive impact on the level of real GNP per capita.

Date: 2007
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