Economics homework help

Economics homework help. ECON 321 SPRING 2020 – INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT 5

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Marking scheme – Make sure you answer all the questions before handing this in!

Question Marks
1 a 12
2 a 3
b 3
c 3
3 a 4
b 4
Total 29


  1. Read the following paper:

MacDonald, N. (1977). The Canadian Pacific Railway and Vancouver’s Development to 1900. BC Studies, 35, pp. 3-35. Retrieved from
(The article is open access, so you should have no trouble accessing it off campus.)

  1. (12 marks) Write a 3-2-1 report on the article using the form provided on Coursespaces.


  1. [Analysis] Read the following two short articles:


After you have done so, briefly answer the following questions, based on what you learned in your reading and in ECON 321.

  1. (3 marks) According to the textbook article, the C.P.R. “tried the American cooks and waiters” but found them “unreliable, leaving after two or three months’ employment.” Meanwhile, “the men found in London remained the whole season”. Based on the readings and other material from ECON 321, why do you think that American cooks and waiters were more likely to quit than cooks and waiters brought in from Europe? Briefly explain your reasoning.


  1. (3 marks) According to the textbook article, the C.P.R. wanted to “harmonize” the skin tone and hair color of waiters and cooks to “the setting of the particular car to which the shade of color should be confined”. In 1914, the company went to a lot of trouble and expense to find employees of just the right appearances in London. Based on the readings and other material from ECON 321, why would the C.P.R., in 1914, have found it desirable (and presumably, profitable) to employ cooks and waiters with appearances that matched the customers in the cars in which they would serve?


  1. (3 marks) The C.P.R. made an effort to match the skin and hair tones of its cooks and waiters to the passengers in their cars, but even in 1914 most of its porters, who also had face-to-face contact with passengers, were black. Why would the C.P.R. in 1914 prefer black porters, but cooks and waiters of mixed appearances that matched the passengers?

If you feel you need more information for this question, I recommend skimming these optional readings:
Black Porters on the C.P.R.: Matthieu, S. (2001). North of the Colour Line: Sleeping Car Porters and the Battle against Jim Crow on Canadian Rails, 1880 – 1920. Labour, 47(47). Retrieved from
C.P.R. Cooks: From the textbook, VI.7 How the Canadian Pacific Selects Cooks (1912), pp. 439-440.

  1. [Math] In 1881, the Canadian Pacific Railway syndicate was awarded $25,000,000 as part of its contract. By 1893, some people were complaining that the $0.75 that the C.P.R. charged for its meals was too high.

In 2020, $25,000,000 isn’t that much for a large infrastructure project, and paying $0.75 for a meal would be a bargain. This is because the purchasing power of the Canadian dollar has changed over time. In this question, you will be asked to adjust for inflation, and turn the 1881 and 1893 values into 2020 dollars.
If we had a CPI (Consumer Price Index) or other reliable price index for Canada going back to 1881, this wouldn’t be a problem. Prices indices are designed to make the sort of conversion we want easy. By design, if X and Y are years, P is ‘Price’ and CPI is the Consumer Price Index,
This means that to put a ‘Year X’ price in 2020 dollars, we just need to plug the appropriate values into
Q: In 1939, large eggs sold for $0.26 a dozen in Victoria, B.C. (at a now-defunct supermarket called Ray’s).  The Canadian CPI for 1939 is 7.7. The current estimate of the Canadian CPI for 2020 is 136.8.  Use this information to convert the price of eggs in 1939 to 2019 dollars.
Px/Py = CPIx/CPIy à P2020 = $0.26 x 136.8/7.7 = $4.62
In 2020 dollars, a dozen egg’s at Ray’s cost $4.62. That means eggs have actually gone down in price, in real terms, since in 2019, large eggs sell for $3.69 a dozen in Victoria, B.C. (at Thrifty’s).
(For more details, see the CPI lecture notes in the same folder as this assignment.)
The problem is that we don’t have a CPI for Canada going back to 1881. The Canadian CPI series starts in 1914. In this question, you’ll try to make up for that by ‘patching in’ two price indices that DO go back to 1881 – those of Canada’s two main trading partners at the time, the U.S. and Britain.
You will use the U.S. and British price indices to put the 1881 and 1893 prices in terms of 1914 dollars, then use the Canadian CPI to bring the price indices from 1914 to 2020. This will give you a rough range for the ‘2020 dollars’ equivalent of the two items were are looking at – a large cash subsidy in 1881, and an ‘expensive’ train lunch in 1893.
Information Needed:
C.P.R. cash subsidy, in 1881 dollars: $25,000,000
Cost of a C.P.R. lunch, in 1893 dollars: $0.75

Year US CPI British CPI Canadian CPI
1881 10.2 100.0
1893 9.0 95.0
1914 10.0 105.5 6.0
2020 136.8


  1. (4 marks) What is the range of values, in 2020 dollars, for a $25,000,000 subsidy in 1881?

Estimate using the U.S. (and Canadian) CPI: $_______________________
Show your work:
Estimate using the British (and Canadian) CPI: $________________________
Show your work:

  1. (4 marks) What is the range of values, in 2020 dollars, for a $0.75 lunch in 1893?

Estimate using the U.S. (and Canadian) CPI: $_______________________
Show your work:
Estimate using the British (and Canadian) CPI: $________________________
Show your work:

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