Economic historian Frank Lewis retires after 44 years at Queen’s

By Nora Ottenhof, JDI undergraduate research assistant

After 44 years at Queen’s University, economic historian Frank Lewis has retired. Prof. Lewis has contributed immeasurably to the Queen’s University community through both his groundbreaking research and passionate teaching style. His research legacy has provided countless insights into First Nations economies in Canada, the fur trade, slavery, and migration, among many other topics.

Throughout his career, Lewis has devoted a great deal of time to the study of trading between First Nations people and European colonizers. Lewis’s 2010 book Commerce by a Frozen Sea, written in partnership with Ann Carlos, delves deeply into the subject matter and is what Lewis considers his greatest professional accomplishment. As Lewis explains, the goal of this research was to understand the exact nature of this relationship. Such questions were posed as: Was the correspondence strictly commercial? Who had the bargaining power and by what degree? How did both the Europeans and First Nations people respond to changes in the market given their limited access to information?Read More »

Why do Wages Differ Across Countries? Lessons from migrants to Canada in the 1920s

By Frank Lewis, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, Queen’s University

A chambermaid in Canada has a wage more than twice that of a chambermaid in South Korea; a pharmacist earns four times what a pharmacist in India earns; and a registered nurse receives six times the earnings of a registered nurse in the Philippines. These approximate purchasing-power-parity comparisons typify the large wage gaps between Canada and many other countries; and lead to the question: why doesn’t the chambermaid in South Korea, the pharmacist in India, and the registered nurse in the Philippines move to Canada? Read More »