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No. 22: A Regional Perspective on the Canada-U.S. Standard of Living Comparison

by Raynald Létourneau and Martine Lajoie, Industry Canada, 2000


This paper presents a comparison of standards of living between Canadian provinces and U.S. states. Most comparisons with the United States focus on the national perspective, while provincial analyses are essentially restricted to the domestic context. This study extends the scope of the exercise to the regional level since, as shown in our previous studies,1 the relative performance of the provinces varies significantly and, therefore, the challenges raised by the greater integration of the North-American market are also likely to differ. The comparison focuses on standards of living with a special emphasis on labour productivity.

The paper is divided as follows. First, we present our framework of analysis and discuss issues related to the comparison of productivity and standards of living at the regional level between the two countries. We then move to a discussion of standard of living and productivity. Each of these sections presents a separate analysis of U.S. states and Canadian provinces, and a comparison of both. The paper concludes with a brief review of our main results.

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