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Domestic Trade and Market Size in Late-Eighteenth-Century France

  • Daudin, Guillaume

This paper checks if differences in market size can explain the retardation of the Industrial Revolution in France compared to Britain. It uses an exceptional source on French domestic trade in a variety of goods in the late eighteenth century: the Tableaux du Maximum. The first part presents this source and the data. The second part checks if the data are plausible using a logit theoretical gravity equation. The third part uses the results of this gravity equation to compute the expected markets size of specific supply centres. For all types of high value-to-weight goods, some French supply centres reached 25 million people or more. For all types of textile groups, some French supply centres reached 20 million people or more. Even taking into account differences in real, nominal and disposable income per capita, these supply centres had access to domestic markets that were at least as large as the whole of Britain. Differences in the size of foreign markets were too small to reverse that result.

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

Volume (Year): 70 (2010)
Issue (Month): 03 (September)
Pages: 716-743

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:70:y:2010:i:03:p:716-743_00
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