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The Costs of Doing Hard Time: A Penitentiary-based Regional Price Index for Canada, 1883-1923

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McGill University
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Abstract

We construct consumer price indices for Canada, mainly based on the expenditure records of Canada's federal penitentiaries. Regional price variation was much greater in Canada in the late nineteenth century than in the northern U.S. The new data suggest substantial price decline to 1900. Regional price variation in Canada decreased gradually to 1914, and quickly during the First World War. For 1900-14 and 1922-3, new data are largely consistent with consumer price data compiled by The Labour Gazette. The new data suggest more inflation during the First World War.

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