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Profitability of Slave and Long-Distance Trading in Context: The Case of Eighteenth-Century France

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  • DAUDIN, GUILLAUME

Abstract

This article studies slave and other long-distance trades in eighteenth-century France. The data cover 238 ventures from seven French harbors between 1710 and 1780. Using the undiscounted benefit-cost ratio as a proxy for the internal rate of return, the article shows that these investments were more liquid, shorter, and more profitable than private notarized credit, without higher risk. They were safer and had a shorter duration than government bonds, without being less liquid or less profitable. The conclusion, that investment in these trades was preferable to domestic alternatives, may be explained by barriers to entry.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 64 (2004)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
Pages: 144-171

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:64:y:2004:i:01:p:144-171_00

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  1. Darity, William, 1985. "The Numbers Game and the Profitability of the British Trade in Slaves," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(03), pages 693-703, September.
  2. Potter, Mark, 2000. "Good Offices: Intermediation by Corporate Bodies in Early Modern French Public Finance," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 599-626, September.
  3. Rosenthal Jean-Laurent, 1993. "Credit Markets and Economic Change in Southeastern France 1630-1788," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 129-157, April.
  4. Hoffman, Philip T. & Postel-Vinay, Gilles & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2001. "Priceless Markets," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226348018, June.
  5. Velde, François R. & Weir, David R., 1992. "The Financial Market and Government Debt Policy in France, 1746–1793," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 1-39, March.
  6. Eltis, David & Engerman, Stanley L., 2000. "The Importance of Slavery and the Slave Trade to Industrializing Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 123-144, March.
  7. Thomas, Robert Paul & Bean, Richard Nelson, 1974. "The Fishers of Men: The Profits of the Slave Trade," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(04), pages 885-914, December.
  8. Postma,Johannes, 1990. "The Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600–1815," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521365857.
  9. Clark, Gregory, 2001. "Debt, deficits, and crowding out: England, 1727 1840," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(03), pages 403-436, December.
  10. Eltis, David & Engerman, Stanley L., 2000. "The Importance of Slavery and the Slave Trade to Industrializing Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 123-144, March.
  11. Inikori, J. E., 1981. "Market Structure and the Profits of the British African Trade in the Late Eighteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(04), pages 745-776, December.
  12. Potter, Mark, 2000. "Good Offices: Intermediation by Corporate Bodies in Early Modern French Public Finance," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 599-626, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Kevin H. O'Rourke, Leandro Prados de la Escosura and Guilllaume Daudin, 2008. "Trade and Empire, 1700-1870," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp249, IIIS.
  2. Guillaume Daudin, 2006. "Profits du commerce international et croissance de la France au XVIIIe siècle," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/684, Sciences Po.
  3. Baafi Antwi, Joseph, 2011. "Western Guilt and Third World Development: Part 1," MPRA Paper 28422, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 26 Jan 2011.
  4. Guillaume Daudin, 2006. "Profits du commerce intercontinental et croissance dans la France du xviiie siècle," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(3), pages 605-613.
  5. Guillaume Daudin, 2006. "Do Frontiers give or do frontiers take ? The case of intercontinental trade in France at the end of the Ancien Régime," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5l6uh8ogmqi, Sciences Po.

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