Income and Expenditure Accounts Technical Series

Constructing Provincial Time Series: A Discussion of Data Sources and Methods

1. Introduction

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This paper describes the linking and estimation procedures used to generate an updated vintage of the provincial comparison dataset for the period from 1926 to 2011 employed in Brown and Macdonald (2015) to examine convergence across Canadian provinces. The dataset was expanded to include data from 2012 and the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

The long-run data discussed here start in 1926 and cover variables related to household income, population and consumer prices.

This new dataset increases the information available for comparing the performance of provinces and territories across a range of measures. It combines often fragmented provincial time series data that, as such, are of limited utility for examining the evolution of provincial economies over extended periods. More advanced statistical methods, and models with greater breadth and depth, are difficult to apply to existing fragmented Canadian data. The longitudinal nature of the new provincial dataset remedies this shortcoming.

This report explains the construction of the latest vintage of the dataset. The dataset contains the most up-to-date information available. It is not identical to that employed in Brown and Macdonald (2015), as it incorporates improved linking procedures, and revised data sources.

This document is structured as follows. Section 2 describes the principles applied to the dataset. Section 3 explains the rationale underlying the linking procedures. Section 4 then discusses how the historical time series for each variable was constructed.

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