Monopsony and Industrial Development in Nineteenth Century Quebec: The Impact of Seigneurial Tenure

71 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2018

See all articles by Vincent Geloso

Vincent Geloso

Bates College

Vadim Kufenko

University of Hohenheim - Institute of Economics

Alex Arsenault Morin

Queen's University (Canada), Faculty of Arts & Science, Department of Economics, Students

Date Written: October 20, 2018

Abstract

We argue that the system of seigneurial tenure used in the province of Quebec until the mid-nineteenth century -- a system which allowed significant market power in the establishment of plants, factories and mills, combined with restrictions on the mobility of the labor force within each seigneurial estate -- is best understood as a system of regionalized monopsonies in the non-farm sector. Seigneurs had incentives to reduce their employment in those sectors to reduce wage rates. We use the fact that later, with the Constitutional Act of 1791, all new settled lands had to be settled under a different system (British land laws). This fact lends itself efficiently to a regression discontinuity design. Using wages contained in the 1831 census, we find strong evidence that the monopsonist features of seigneurial tenure depressed wages and industrial development.

Keywords: Canadian Economic History, Monopsony, Labor Coercion, Economic Development

JEL Classification: N11, J42, R52

Suggested Citation

Geloso, Vincent and Kufenko, Vadim and Arsenault Morin, Alex, Monopsony and Industrial Development in Nineteenth Century Quebec: The Impact of Seigneurial Tenure (October 20, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3270356 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3270356

Vincent Geloso (Contact Author)

Bates College ( email )

Department of Economics
Lewiston, ME
United States

Vadim Kufenko

University of Hohenheim - Institute of Economics ( email )

Schloss-Mittelhof (Ost)
70593 Stuttgart
Germany

Alex Arsenault Morin

Queen's University (Canada), Faculty of Arts & Science, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

99 University Avenue
Kingston K7L 3N6, Ontario
Canada

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