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Distinct within North America: living standards in French Canada, 1688–1775

Vincent Geloso

Cliometrica, 2019, vol. 13, issue 2, No 5, 277-321

Abstract: Abstract I use a novel dataset of prices and wages from the French colony of Quebec (Canada’s second largest province today) to measure colonial-era living standards. Following Allen’s (Explor Econ Hist 38(4):411–447, 2001; The British industrial revolution in global perspective, Cambridge University, Cambridge, 2009; Econ Hist Rev 68(1):1–22, 2015) welfare-ratios approach, I find that Quebec was poorer than the American colonies and London, but somewhat richer than Paris and Southern England. The Quebec–Paris comparison is sensitive to changes in the basket used to compare wages. Shifting from a bare bones basket to a respectable basket, Quebec loses its advantage over Paris, but remains poorer than the American colonies and London.

Keywords: Canadian economic history; Quebec economic history; Colonial origins of divergence; Living standards; Welfare ratios; Real wages (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N11 N31 N91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s11698-018-0177-1

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