French Revolution or Industrial Revolution? A Note on the Contrasting Experiences of England and France up to 1800
AbstractAt the end of the eighteenth century, England and France both underwent revolutions: France the French Revolution, England the industrial revolution. This note sheds new light on these contrasting experiences in the histories of England and France by looking at the evolution of real consumer prices in London and Paris in the centuries leading up to 1800. While in London building workers were facing low and stable consumer prices over the period, leaving plenty of scope for a demand-driven consumer revolution (in particular after 1650), their Parisian counterparts had to engage in a year-long grind to maintain a decent living, and often had to cut consumption to make ends meet. The exercise conducted in the present paper gives a quantitative and economic underpinning to the notion that the French revolution did not arise out of nowhere, but rather had its roots in centuries of hardship amongst working class people as they struggled to make a living.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History in its series Working Papers with number 0012.
Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Consumer revolution; French revolution; great divergence; industrious revolution; industrial revolution; labour input;
Other versions of this item:
- Paul R. Sharp & Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2012. "French revolution or industrial revolution? A note on the contrasting experiences of England and France up to 1800," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(1), pages 79-88, January.
- J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
- N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
- O1 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
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