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Emigration during the French Revolution: Consequences in the Short and Longue Durée

Author

Listed:
  • Franck, Raphael

    (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • Michalopoulos, Stelios

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

Abstract

During the French Revolution, more than 100,000 individuals, predominantly supporters of the Old Regime, fled France. As a result, some areas experienced a significant change in the composition of the local elites whereas in others the pre-revolutionary social structure remained virtually intact. In this study, we trace the consequences of the émigrés flight on economic performance at the local level. We instrument emigration intensity with local temperature shocks during an inflection point of the Revolution, the summer of 1792, marked by the abolition of the constitutional monarchy and bouts of local violence. Our findings suggest that émigrés have a non monotonic effect on comparative development. During the 19th century, there is a significant negative impact on income per capita, which becomes positive from the second half of the 20th century onward. This pattern can be partially attributed to the reduction in the share of the landed elites in high-emigration regions. We show that the resulting fragmentation of agricultural holdings reduced labor productivity, depressing overall income levels in the short run; however, it facilitated the rise in human capital investments, eventually leading to a reversal in the pattern of regional comparative development.

Suggested Citation

  • Franck, Raphael & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2017. "Emigration during the French Revolution: Consequences in the Short and Longue Durée," Working Papers 2, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmoi:0002
    DOI: 10.21034/iwp.2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Carillo, Mario Francesco, 2018. "Agricultural policy and long-run development: evidence from Mussolini's Battle for Grain," MPRA Paper 88941, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Revolution; Elites; Climate shocks; France; Development;

    JEL classification:

    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-

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