The Linguistic Wage Gap in Quebec, 1901 to 1921
24 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2020 Last revised: 3 Dec 2021
Date Written: July 2, 2020
For most of Canadian economic history, French-Canadians (composing more than a quarter of the country's population) had living standards inferior to those of English-Canadians. This was true even in the province (Québec) where the French-Canadians constituted a majority. Today, no significant gap remains. However, the question of when the gap started to disappeared remains surprisingly unanswered. Most of the attention has been dedicated to the post-1970 data when census information is available and which shows rapid convergence. However, we do not know if the convergence started before 1970. In this paper, we use data from the 1901, 1911 and 1921 censuses to provide the first elements of an answer. We find that the gap started closing modestly at the beginning of the 20th century but that it stopped closing until 1970. This is an important finding as it suggests that while there was some pre-1970 convergence, the bulk of the convergence occurred after 1970.
Keywords: Canadian Economic History; Discrimination; Wage Gap; Quebec Economic History
JEL Classification: N31, N32, J71
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation