Kelly M. (1997) The dynamics of Smithian growth

February 24, 2008

KELLY Morgan (1997) “The Dynamics of Smithian Growth”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112/3, 939-964.

Smithian progress (i.e. the understanding that specialization causes output to rise first articulated by Adam Smith) is neglected by economists because it is perceived as gradual (unlike the sudden growth caused by innovation, learning by doing and private capital accumulation). But the author dismisses the idea that Smithian growth is necessarily gradual. Read the rest of this entry »

Goiten S. (1964) Mediterranean trade before the Crusades

February 17, 2008

Goiten Shelomo Dov (1964) “Le commerce méditerranéen avant les croisades. Quelques faits et problèmes”, reproduced in Micheau Françoise (ed.) Les relations des pays d’Islam avec le monde latin du milieu du Xe siècle au milieu du XIIIe siècle, Paris Vuibert, 2004, 286-303.


Have the Crusadeds followed and used or preceded and triggered the first commercial long-standing relations between the Muslim parts of the Mediterranean world and the Western Christendom (286) ? The documents from the Cairo Geniza cast a new light on this issue (287). These documents reveal “the strong influence of Europe upon he islamic trade as early as the first decades of the 11th century, and even sooner”. Read the rest of this entry »

Margairaz D (1986) Networks of fairs in 18th-century France

February 10, 2008

Margairaz Dominique (1986) “La formation du réseau des foires et des marchés : stratégies, pratiques et idéologie”, Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 1215-1242.

This article is available online.


Including space in the models developed by the economists is something relatively new. Each good, service and factor has its own geography which may have nothing to do with administrative frontiers (1215). The question of supply and demand can be enriched by issues regarding space and the actors involved. The understanding in 18th century France (Gournay, Turgot, Necker) that failures of the demand or the supply can lead to catastrophes, triggered interest for trade (the liberty of the grain trade being one of the most important political battles of the 18th century in the kingdom). Space was an essential problem that policymakers of the time tackled by constructing roads, waterways and by redefining the administrative division of the French territory (1216). Read the rest of this entry »

Pourchasse P. (2006) French, Swedish and Danish consuls in 18th-century Europe

February 3, 2008

Pourchasse Pierrick (2006) “Les consulats, un service essentiel pour le monde négociant: une approche comparative entre la France et la Scandinavie”, in Ulbert Jörg and Le Bouëdec dir., La fonction consulaire à l’époque moderne. L’affirmation d’une institution économique et politique (1500-1700), Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 191-209.


In the extremely slow early modern economy, having a good network to carry information as quickly as possible meant being competitive. Prices varied a lot from one place to the other, being informed on time meant one’s success or one’s ruin. During the 18th century, French merchants were very passive in the northern seas, they had no information network; on the other hand, the Scandinavian traders were emerging quickly as one of the main players of the region (191). Consuls – present mostly in port towns such as Bordeaux, Nantes, Bergen, or Dantzig – were a key element in the chain relaying information. Read the rest of this entry »