Was (English) Canada Poorer than the United States? Living Standards Circa 1830 to Circa 1845

13 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2018

Date Written: September 27, 2018

Abstract

This paper uses the censuses of 1842 of Canada East (modern day Quebec) and Canada West (modern day Ontario) to help explain the historical differences in living standards between Canada and the United States. The argument made in this paper is that Canada East was substantially poorer than the rest of Canada. The wage and price data contained in the censuses suggest a gap of 42% between Canada East and Canada West. As it represented such a large of the total population (north of 35%) of Canada, that relative poverty weighed heavily in determining the extent of living standards differences between Canada and the United States. This changes the perspective on the roots of the differences between the two countries. It proposes that any research agenda trying to explain them should focus heavily on Quebec.

Keywords: Canadian Economic History, Living Standards, Quebec, Ontario

JEL Classification: N11, N21, E31

Suggested Citation

Geloso, Vincent and Macera, Gonzalo, Was (English) Canada Poorer than the United States? Living Standards Circa 1830 to Circa 1845 (September 27, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3256294 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3256294

Vincent Geloso (Contact Author)

Bates College ( email )

Department of Economics
Lewiston, ME
United States

Gonzalo Macera

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

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