The Economic History of French Canadians

Forthcoming in the Handbook of Cliometrics

35 Pages Posted: 25 May 2023

See all articles by Vincent Geloso

Vincent Geloso

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 25, 2023


This is a chapter entry (with more details and sources that had to be eliminated for formatting guidelines) for the Handbook of Cliometrics. It details research done in the last 40 years regarding the economic history of French-Canadians. The discussion of recent findings centers around the pattern of international income differences and their evolution over time.

Explanations of the poverty of French-Canadians that hinge on geography and culture appear to be empirically rejected. Institutional explanations such as intermittent warfare during the 17th and 18th centuries, the conquest of Quebec by the British in 1760, the role of seigneurial tenure and the role of the provincial jurisdiction over education in the 1867 British North America Act appear to form far stronger explanations. Seigneurial tenure and educational policies appear to be the most important of those.

Future research directions are then highlighted -- notably the creation and extension of new and existing datasets.

Suggested Citation

Geloso, Vincent, The Economic History of French Canadians (May 25, 2023). Forthcoming in the Handbook of Cliometrics, Available at SSRN: or

Vincent Geloso (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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