Labour Productivity in Late Nineteenth Century Quebec and Ontario Manufacturing: Explaining Ontario's Advantage

American Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 25, pp. 219-249, 1995

Posted: 26 Jan 2010

Date Written: 1995

Abstract

This article present a case study of the historical causes of interregional differentials in labour productivity which played, and still continues to play, an important role in explaining interregional and international differences in the amount of goods and services available per person. Possible causes are presented for the persistent and substantial differential in labour productivity throughout the period 1870-1910 favouring Ontario over Quebec manufacturing. The interprovincial disparity in labour productivity between Quebec and Ontario coexisted with a disparity in literacy and schooling. However there is no evidence that Quebec is still behind in quality of education while it still lags in productivity. Another reason for Quebec's lower productivity could be that low wages have had a negative impact on Quebec's development process by negatively affecting labour productivity while high wages have had the opposite effect in Ontario. Continued low wages could be a possible impediment to Quebec's capacity in catching up with Ontario.

Keywords: Labor productivity, Quebec, Interregional differentials, Manufacturing, Ontario, Wages

JEL Classification: N31, J24, L60

Suggested Citation

Altman, Morris, Labour Productivity in Late Nineteenth Century Quebec and Ontario Manufacturing: Explaining Ontario's Advantage (1995). American Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 25, pp. 219-249, 1995 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1542259

Morris Altman (Contact Author)

University of Newcastle ( email )

University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia

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