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Was the Great War a Watershed ? The economics of World War One in France

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  • Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur

Abstract

This paper presents a broad, quantitatively documented, overview of the French economy during World War One, trying to answer the question of whether the war was a turning point in French economic history. It first describes the various shocks the war imposed to the economy, from invasion to labour and capital mobilisation. It then studies macroeconomic policies, especially the finance of both the budget and the balance of payments deficits. It then turn to government interventions in the economy, suggesting they were less important than frequently asserted, and showing thanks to two quantitative tests that the economy probably adapted to the war more spontaneously than usually believed. It ends with some remarks on the effects of the war on future growth, arguing that the main problem for France resulting from the war was the change in the international political and monetary environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur, 2003. "Was the Great War a Watershed ? The economics of World War One in France," DELTA Working Papers 2003-16, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  • Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:2003-16
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