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A challenge to triumphant optimists? A blue chips index for the Paris stock exchange, 1854–2007

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  • Le Bris, David
  • Hautcœur, Pierre-Cyrille

Abstract

We have reconstructed a new blue chips (large caps) stock index for France from 1854 to 1998, based on a modern methodology. Our index differs profoundly from earlier indices, and is more consistent with French financial and economic history. We suggest this result casts some doubt on many historical stock indices, such as those used in Dimson, Marsh and Staunton's Triumph of the Optimists . Investment in French stocks provided a positive real return during the nineteenth century, but a negative one – because of inflation and wars – in the twentieth. Despite this secular negative real performance, stocks proved the best financial asset in the very long run, although with an equity premium lower than in the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Le Bris, David & Hautcœur, Pierre-Cyrille, 2010. "A challenge to triumphant optimists? A blue chips index for the Paris stock exchange, 1854–2007," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(02), pages 141-183, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:fihrev:v:17:y:2010:i:02:p:141-183_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Piketty, Thomas & Postel-Vinay, Gilles & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2014. "Inherited vs self-made wealth: Theory & evidence from a rentier society (Paris 1872–1927)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 21-40.
    2. G. Bazot & M. D. Bordo & E. Monnet, 2014. "The Price of Stability. The balance sheet policy of the Banque de France and the Gold Standard (1880-1914)," Working papers 510, Banque de France.
    3. Grossman, Richard, 2017. "Stocks for the Long Run: New Monthly Indices of British Equities, 1869-1929," CEPR Discussion Papers 12121, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Quinn, William, 2016. "Squeezing the bears: Cornering risk and limits on arbitrage during the 'British Bicycle Mania', 1896-1898," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2016-05, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    5. Òscar Jordà & Katharina Knoll & Dmitry Kuvshinov & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2017. "The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870–2015," NBER Working Papers 24112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:eee:ecolet:v:159:y:2017:i:c:p:119-122 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Quinn, William, 2016. "Technological revolutions and speculative finance: Evidence from the British Bicycle Mania," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2016-06, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    8. Raphaël Hekimian, 2017. "The French banking sector during the interwar: What lessons can be drawn from the stock market?," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-3, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    9. Grossman, Richard, 2017. "Beresford's Revenge: British equity holdings in Latin America, 1869-1929," CEPR Discussion Papers 12042, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Jérémy Ducros & Angelo Riva, 2014. "The Lyon Stock Exchange: A Struggle for Survival (1866-1914)," Working Papers halshs-00960528, HAL.
    11. Goetzmann, Will & Le Bris, David & Pouget, Sébastien, 2017. "The Present Value Relation Over Six Centuries: The Case of the Bazacle Company," TSE Working Papers 17-794, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    12. repec:wly:jmoncb:v:49:y:2017:i:2-3:p:273-317 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Bazot, Guillaume & Bordo, Michael D. & Monnet, Eric, 2016. "International shocks and the balance sheet of the Bank of France under the classical gold standard," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 87-107.
    14. Campbell, Gareth & Quinn, William & Turner, John D. & Ye, Qing, 2015. "What moved share prices in the nineteenth-century London stock market?," QUCEH Working Paper Series 15-06, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    15. Jérémie Cohen‐Setton & Joshua K. Hausman & Johannes F. Wieland, 2017. "Supply‐Side Policies in the Depression: Evidence from France," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(2-3), pages 273-317, March.
    16. Turner, John D., 2014. "Financial history and financial economics," QUCEH Working Paper Series 14-03, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    17. Jérémy Ducros & Angelo Riva, 2014. "The Lyon Stock Exchange: A Struggle for Survival (1866-1914)," PSE Working Papers halshs-00960528, HAL.
    18. Chambers, David & Esteves, Rui, 2014. "The first global emerging markets investor: Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust 1880–1913," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-21.
    19. David le Bris & William N. Goetzmann & Sébastien Pouget, 2014. "Testing Asset Pricing Theory on Six Hundred Years of Stock Returns: Prices and Dividends for the Bazacle Company from 1372 to 1946," NBER Working Papers 20199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Raphael Hekimian & David Le Bris, 2016. "US Crashes of 2008 and 1929 How did the French market react? An empirical study," EconomiX Working Papers 2016-21, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    21. Richard S. Grossman, 2015. "Bloody foreigners! Overseas equity on the London Stock Exchange, 1869–1929," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(2), pages 471-521, May.
    22. Annaert, Jan & Mensah, Lord, 2014. "Cross-sectional predictability of stock returns, evidence from the 19th century Brussels Stock Exchange (1873–1914)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 22-43.

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