Flandreau M. et al. (2009) The question was not how to develop finance

August 30, 2009

Flandreau, Marc, Christophe Galimard, Clemens Jobst and Pilar Nogués-Marco (2009) “The bell-jar: commercial interest rates betwee two revolutions” in The Origin and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions. From the Seventeenth Century to the Present, eds. Jeremy Atack and Larry Neal, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 161-208.

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An earlier version of this paper is available here.

For institutionalist economists as well as for contemporary commentators, the wealth of nations in 18th century Europe was rooted in their political system which influenced the level of interest rates and thus trade (p.165). The confidence investors had in the government’s credit was thus seen as critical (tellingly John Law’s primary aim was to bring interest rates down; p.166). Read the rest of this entry »

Velde F. (2009) Eighteenth-century France’s one-man-bubble

August 21, 2009

Velde, François R. (2009) “Was John Law’s System a bubble? The Mississipi Bubble revisited” in The Origin and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions. From the Seventeenth Century to the Present, eds. Jeremy Atack and Larry Neal, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 99-120.

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A slightly different version of this paper is available online.

The shares of the Compagnie des Indes created by John Law to manage the colonization of Louisiana, public finances and monopolies went from 250 Livres in July 1718 when the initial offering closed to just under 10,000 L days before Christmas 1719 and finally to 50 L in March 1721 (p.108). Can this jump followed by an even more impressive collapse in under 3 years be described as a bubble? (p.109) Read the rest of this entry »

Daudin G. (2008) Is my market bigger than yours?

June 20, 2009

Daudin Guillaume (2008) “Domestic trade and market size in late eighteen-century France”, Oxford University: Discussion Papers in Economic and Social History, 32p.

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This article is available on line


The sheer size of the British market is rarely assumed to be a major explanation of the Industrial Revolution. Britons were less numerous than many other people on the continent but low transportation costs and higher density may have created a more integrated economy and thus a larger market. In this paper, the author uses the Tableaux du Maximum (statistics collected in 1794) to estimate whether France was significantly less integrated than England (p.2). Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Economic History (June 1st-7th, 2009)

June 1, 2009

On Tuesday the 2nd, there will be an international conference on “Genre, Mobilités et Mobilisations” in the University of Paris 8. You can contact Marguerite Rollinde (GTM) on it.

On Wednesday the third, Irène Favier will present a paper named “Autour des restructurations industrielles dans la France du second XXe siècle : de Faverge à Vergèze”, in the Social and Politic History of the Economy seminar organized at the École Normale Supérieure. That same day begins the Sixth Annual Conference of the Italian Association for the History of Political Economy (STOREP), with the topic “Financial Crises in the Economists’ View”, in the University of Florence, Italy. The event will last two days: you can visit the conference site here. In the University of California at Los Angeles Haggay Etkes (Stanford University) presents “Legalizing Extortion: Protection Payments, Property Rights, and Economic Growth in Ottoman Gaza” in the VonGremp Workshop in Economic and Entrepreneurial History. In Colombia, Alberto G. Flórez-Malagón (History Department, Ottawa University) will present a book he edited on cattlefarming, “El poder de la carne. Historias de ganaderías en la primera mitad del siglo XX en Colombia”, at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá.

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This Week in Economic History (May 11th-17th)

May 10, 2009

I work as an assistant to Dr. Luis Jáuregui, president of the Mexican Economic History Association (AMHE). One of my duties is to search and edit new contents for the Association’s webpage. Among other things, the Association offers a weekly agenda and a list of future events in economic history.

When I first began looking for and organizing information on economic history events of the region and the world, I faced several problems. Even though EH.net seemed like the obvious place to go, the site lacks information on seminars and conferences smaller than major congresses or anual meetings. For that thing one has to search in the webpages of different universities. The French Economic History Association has a very good calendar; however, it is obviously skewed with the many events related to economic history in France. E-mail lists such as the one from the Societies for the History of Economics,  H-World and H-Business also have events from which otherwise one would probably never know. The economic history associations of Latin America use to be very “local” in terms of the events they announce in their webpages.Thus one has to search in several sources what could probably be updated in a central database.

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Hoffman P., Postel-Vinay G. and Rosenthal J.-L. (1992) Private credit market in Paris

March 28, 2009

Hoffman, Philip T., Postel-Vinay, Gilles, and Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent (1992) “Private Credit Markets in Paris, 1690-1840”, The Journal of Economic History, 52/2, 293-306.



In Ancien Régime France, “credit assumed such importance that, as one historian suggest, an 18th-century person’s very reputation was bound up with his ability to obtain loans.” Until the late 19th century, the usual intermediaries on the credit market were not banks but notaries (p.294). Notarial offices recorded families’ transactions for generations, notaries thus enjoyed a unique ability to access information on the parties’ financial history. Their intimate knowledge of a person’s position allowed them to match borrowers and lenders, often on short notice. Read the rest of this entry »

Cheesy business

March 12, 2009


I am presently in Morocco for research purposes. As the things were getting a bit slow in the last few days due to the public holiday meant to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet, I decided to indulge in my geekiness and I undertook a micro research. I am fascinated by the elegance of economic geography; I enjoy watching the market spread in space as much as others like to watch birds; so that’s just what I did, my Excel sheet in one hand and my binoculars in the other (for the birds, you never know). Read the rest of this entry »