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Les bénéfices terrestres de la charité : les rentes viagères des Hôpitaux parisiens 1660-1690

Listed author(s):
  • Pierre-Charles Pradier


    (SAMM - Statistique, Analyse et Modélisation Multidisciplinaire (SAmos-Marin Mersenne) - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne)

It is generally accepted that in the seventeenth century there was no proper evaluation of life annuities. The institutions that sold these financial assets would therefore have done so arbitrarily, and the bankruptcy of Parisian charitable institutions in 1689 is commonly attributed to this issue. By cross-checking sources, we show that the prices of annuities are compatible with Deparcieux's mortality table discounted at the legal rate of interest. This suggests that annuities were correctly evaluated. On the other hand, the management of reserves seems problematic, even if the lack of reliable assets and cyclical constraints facilitated the underfunding of annuities and led the Parisian hospitals into difficulty. Far from assuming a form of detached supervision, the monarchy contributed to Hôtel-Dieu's illiquidity by manipulating the bonds of the Hôtel de Ville de Paris. Most surprising is the fact that the government immediately issued bonds on even more unfavourable terms than those it had forbidden, without then ensuring it had the means to repay what it had agreed to the Hôtel-Dieu.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00652523.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
Publication status: Published in Histoire et Mesure, EHESS, 2011, XXVI (2), pp.29-74
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00652523
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