IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/7245.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution

Author

Listed:
  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Cantoni, Davide
  • Johnson, Simon
  • Robinson, James A

Abstract

The French Revolution of 1789 had a momentous impact on neighboring countries. The French Revolutionary armies during the 1790s and later under Napoleon invaded and controlled large parts of Europe. Together with invasion came various radical institutional changes. French invasion removed the legal and economic barriers that had protected the nobility, clergy, guilds, and urban oligarchies and established the principle of equality before the law. The evidence suggests that areas that were occupied by the French and that underwent radical institutional reform experienced more rapid urbanization and economic growth, especially after 1850. There is no evidence of a negative effect of French invasion. Our interpretation is that the Revolution destroyed (the institutional underpinnings of) the power of oligarchies and elites opposed to economic change; combined with the arrival of new economic and industrial opportunities in the second half of the 19th century, this helped pave the way for future economic growth. The evidence does not provide any support for several other views, most notably, that evolved institutions are inherently superior to those 'designed'; that institutions must be 'appropriate' and cannot be 'transplanted'; and that the civil code and other French institutions have adverse economic effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Acemoglu, Daron & Cantoni, Davide & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2009. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," CEPR Discussion Papers 7245, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7245
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7245
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2004. "Guilds, efficiency, and social capital: evidence from German proto‐industry," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 57(2), pages 286-333, May.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Cantoni & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2011. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3286-3307, December.
    4. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 595-619, December.
    5. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    6. Daron Acemoglu, 2008. "Oligarchic Versus Democratic Societies," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-44, March.
    7. Guido Tabellini, 2010. "Culture and Institutions: Economic Development in the Regions of Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 677-716, June.
    8. Berkowitz, Daniel & Pistor, Katharina & Richard, Jean-Francois, 2003. "Economic development, legality, and the transplant effect," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 165-195, February.
    9. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    11. Ogilvie, S., 2007. "Can We Rehabilitate the Guilds? A Sceptical Re-Appraisal," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0745, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    12. Eugene White, 1999. "France and the Failure to Modernize Macroeconomic Institutions," Departmental Working Papers 199904, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    13. Dani Rodrik, 2007. "Introductiion to One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth," Introductory Chapters, in: One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth, Princeton University Press.
    14. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2008. "Persistence of Power, Elites, and Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 267-293, March.
    15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2005. "Unbundling Institutions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 949-995, October.
    16. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    17. Kisch, Herbert, 1989. "From Domestic Manufacture to Industrial Revolution: The Case of the Rhineland Textile Districts," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195051117.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Lecce, Giampaolo & Ogliari, Laura, 2019. "Institutional Transplant and Cultural Proximity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1060-1093, December.
    2. Thorsten Beck & Ross Levine, 2008. "Legal Institutions and Financial Development," Springer Books, in: Claude Ménard & Mary M. Shirley (ed.), Handbook of New Institutional Economics, chapter 11, pages 251-278, Springer.
    3. Sascha O. Becker & Katrin Boeckh & Christa Hainz & Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "The Empire Is Dead, Long Live the Empire! Long‐Run Persistence of Trust and Corruption in the Bureaucracy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(590), pages 40-74, February.
    4. Cassey Lee, 2007. "Legal Traditions and Competition Policy," Chapters, in: Paul Cook & Raul Fabella & Cassey Lee (ed.), Competitive Advantage and Competition Policy in Developing Countries, chapter 4, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang, 2009. "Contract enforcement and family control of business: Evidence from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 597-609, December.
    6. Lubna Hasan, 2007. "Myths and Realities of Long-run Development: A Look at Deeper Determinants," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 46(1), pages 19-44.
    7. Braunfels, Elias, 2016. "Further Unbundling Institutions," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 13/2016, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    8. Davis, Lewis S. & Williamson, Claudia R., 2016. "Culture and the regulation of entry," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 1055-1083.
    9. Baland, Jean-Marie & Moene, Karl Ove & Robinson, James A., 2010. "Governance and Development," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Dani Rodrik & Mark Rosenzweig (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 4597-4656, Elsevier.
    10. Ece H. Guleryuz, 2017. "Externally Imposed Institutions and Regional Growth Differences: Evidence from France and Germany," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 64(4), pages 461-475, September.
    11. Aldashev, Gani & Zanarone, Giorgio, 2017. "Endogenous enforcement institutions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 49-64.
    12. Simplice A. Asongu & Oasis Kodila-Tedika, 2018. "Determinants of Property Rights Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 9(4), pages 1291-1308, December.
    13. Tay-Cheng Ma, 2012. "Legal tradition and antitrust effectiveness," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1263-1297, December.
    14. Abdoul’ Mijiyawa, 2013. "Determinants of property rights institutions: survey of literature and new evidence," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 127-183, May.
    15. Davide Cantoni & Franziska Kugler & Ludger Wößmann, 2014. "Der lange Schatten der Geschichte: Mechanismen der Persistenz in der Wirtschaftsgeschichte," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 67(02), pages 13-22, January.
    16. Casey, Gregory & Klemp, Marc, 2021. "Historical instruments and contemporary endogenous regressors," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).
    17. Richard Bluhm & Adam Szirmai, 2011. "Institutions, Inequality and Growth: A review of theory and evidence on the institutional determinants of growth and inequality," Papers inwopa634, Innocenti Working Papers.
    18. Jinfeng Luo & Yi Wen, 2015. "Institutions Do Not Rule: Reassessing the Driving Forces of Economic Development," Working Papers 2015-1, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    19. Grosjean, Pauline, 2011. "The institutional legacy of the Ottoman Empire: Islamic rule and financial development in South Eastern Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-16, March.
    20. Du, Julan & Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang, 2012. "Contracting institutions and vertical integration: Evidence from China’s manufacturing firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 89-107.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    civil code; democracy; guilds; institutions; oligarchy; political economy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7245. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.