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Can markets foster rebellion? The case of the 1837–38 rebellions in Lower Canada

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  • Geloso, Vincent
  • Kufenko, Vadim

Abstract

In 1837–38, the British colonies of Upper and Lower Canada rebelled. The rebellion was more virulent (and better organized) in Lower Canada. The rebellions were also concentrated in the richer areas of that colony. In this paper, we use the census of 1831 and databases of rebellious events to explain how the rebels managed to overcome the problem of collective action. We argue that the rich areas were more prone to rebellion because they were where markets were most developed. These well-developed markets allowed for cheaper coordination of seditious elements. We link our contribution to the literature on the collective action problem inherent to the organization of protests, uprisings and rebellions.

Suggested Citation

  • Geloso, Vincent & Kufenko, Vadim, 2019. "Can markets foster rebellion? The case of the 1837–38 rebellions in Lower Canada," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 263-287.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:166:y:2019:i:c:p:263-287
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.06.005
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rebellions; Economic development; Canadian economic history; Collective action problem;

    JEL classification:

    • N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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