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Cross-checking the Sound database with the French Balance du Commerce data


  • Loïc Charles

    (Paris 8, Ined)

  • Guillaume Daudin

    () (PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa-DIAL UMR IRD 225)


During the eighteenth century Europe set the cultural, political and economic conditions for its entry in the industrial era. While the role of international trade has been for a long time considered as a minor factor in the industrial revolution, the focus of economic history has changed somewhat during the last two decades. The emergence of a global perspective in economic history has led prominent scholars to account for the important role of international trade in the rise of Europe over other world regions 5 But whereas extra-European trade is comparatively well known and has been the object of recent syntheses,6intra-European trade has largely been neglected. The scarcity of works on foreign trade statistics of preindustrial times is all the more unfortunate as external trade flows are the single economic data that (some) early modern states have collected with the most care. Indeed, the first attempts at measuring foreign trade regularly can be dated back to the seventeenth century. From 1696 on, the English crown was able to collect a continuous series of customs data and release a yearly evaluation of the English balance of trade. The French royal administration created the Bureau de la balance du commerce in 1713. Its task was to produce a yearly document that detailed the French external trade and calculated its general balance. There was a pan European move towards a more extensive and better measurement of external trade throughout the eighteenth century, with various countries gathering the same data through their central administrations .
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Suggested Citation

  • Loïc Charles & Guillaume Daudin, 2016. "Cross-checking the Sound database with the French Balance du Commerce data," Working Papers DT/2016/05, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201605

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    eighteenth century; international trade statistics; France; Baltic; Sound; globalization; economic history;

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods

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