The equally “bad” French and English farmers of Quebec: New TFP measures from the 1831 census
Michael Hinton and
Vadim Kufenko ()
Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, 2017, vol. 50, issue 3, 170-189
New TFP estimates drawn from the neglected census of 1831 for Lower Canada are used to test the controversial (but still dominant) traditional “poor French farmers” explanation for a prolonged economic crisis. The new evidence shows that French-speaking areas were equally as productive as English-speaking areas, something that upturns the established consensus and reinforces the minority viewpoint that culture had little to do with the crisis. Using a broad range of controls, the researchers find that this conclusion is robust and that other variables such as settlement recency, environment, and economic structure were much more significant determinants of TFP. These results warrant the abandonment of the cultural explanation and a shift toward other explanatory channels.
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