© 2017

Rethinking Canadian Economic Growth and Development since 1900

The Quebec Case

  • Argues against the 'Great Darkness' thesis that states Quebec was backwards before 1960 by demonstrating through cliometrics that Quebec actually closed the gap between itself and the rest of Canada (and the United States) between 1945 and 1960 after decades of relative stagnation

  • Provides a counterfactual portrait of the Quiet Revolution

  • Answers the questions: Would present-day Québec really be that different if the State had been less interventionist? Was the notion of the Great Darkness invented to expunge the Quiet Revolution and its concomitant policies of accountability for their negative consequences?

  • Examines policies that led to an awakening of French Canadian entrepreneurship as well as a population-wide shift in thinking about industrialization, economic development, and the business world

Palgrave Macmillan

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Vincent Geloso
    Pages 1-9
  3. Vincent Geloso
    Pages 93-110
  4. Vincent Geloso
    Pages 169-178
  5. Vincent Geloso
    Pages 179-201
  6. Vincent Geloso
    Pages 203-207
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 209-212

About this book


This book upturns many established ideas regarding the economic and social history of Quebec, the Canadian province that is home to the majority of its French population. It places the case of Quebec into the wider question of convergence in economic history and whether proactive governments delay or halt convergence.  

The period from 1945 to 1960, infamously labelled the Great Gloom (Grande Noirceur), was in fact a breaking point where the previous decades of relative decline were overturned – Geloso argues that this era should be considered the Great Convergence (Grand Rattrapage). In opposition, the Quiet Revolution that followed after 1960 did not accelerate these trends. In fact, there are signs of slowing down and relative decline that appear after the 1970s. The author posits that the Quiet Revolution sowed the seeds for a growth slowdown by crowding-out social capital and inciting rent-seeking behaviour on the part of interest groups. 


Real wage New institutional economics Cliometrics Public choice theory Great gloom thesis Comparative economics Quiet Revolution Great darkness Canada

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Economic HistoryLondon School of EconomicsSaint-LambertCanada

About the authors

Vincent Geloso is a post-doctoral fellow at Texas Tech University, USA. He earned his PhD at the London School of Economics, UK. His research interests include Economic History and the Economics of Religion, and he has published in Journal of Population Research, Economics Bulletin, Agricultural History Review, Essays in Economic and Business History and Economic Affairs. He is also an economics blogger at the Journal de Montréal, the largest French newspaper in Canada. 

Bibliographic information