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Entry, information, and financial development: A century of competition between French banks and notaries

Author

Listed:
  • Philip T. Hoffman

    (CS CALTECH - Computer Science Department - CALTECH - California Institute of Technology)

  • Gilles Postel-Vinay

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

    (HSS CALTECH - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences - CALTECH - California Institute of Technology)

Abstract

Poorly developed financial markets are widely believed to block economic growth, because only modern financial intermediaries such as banks can mobilize large amounts of financial capital at low cost. This claim is supported by cross country regressions, but the regressions assume that credit intermediation is measured accurately before modern financial intermediaries arrive. If traditional intermediaries were mobilizing large amounts of financial capital before banks or other modern intermediaries appear, then the strength of the relationship between financial development and economic growth would be cast into doubt. Using an original panel dataset from nineteenth-century France, we provide the first estimates of how much financial capital key traditional intermediaries (notaries) were mobilizing for an entire economy during its first century of economic growth, and we analyze the lending that the notaries made possible in French mortgage market. The amount of capital they mobilized turns out to be large. We then analyze the effect that financial deepening had on the notaries as banks spread and find that the banks' and notaries' services were in all likelihood complements. The implication is that the link between financial development and economic growth may therefore be weaker than is assumed.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip T. Hoffman & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2015. "Entry, information, and financial development: A century of competition between French banks and notaries," Post-Print halshs-01207248, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01207248
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2014.04.002
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01207248
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    Cited by:

    1. Bignon, Vincent & Flandreau, Marc, 2018. "The Other Way: A Narrative History of the Bank of France," CEPR Discussion Papers 13138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Bignon, Vincent & Jobst, Clemens, 2017. "Economic Crises and the Eligibility for the Lender of Last Resort: Evidence from Nineteenth Century France," CEPR Discussion Papers 11737, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. le Bris, David, 2019. "Testing legal origins theory within France: Customary laws versus Roman code," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-30.
    4. Blackwell, Timothy & Kohl, Sebastian, 2017. "Varieties of housing finance in historical perspective: The impact of mortgage finance systems on urban structures and homeownership," MPIfG Discussion Paper 17/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    5. Giorgos Gouzoulis, 2021. "Finance, Discipline and the Labour Share in the Long‐Run: France (1911–2010) and Sweden (1891–2000)," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 59(2), pages 568-594, June.
    6. Avaro, Maylis & Bignon, Vincent, 2019. "At Your Service! Liquidity Provision and Risk Management in 19th Century France," CEPR Discussion Papers 13556, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Le Bris, David, 2013. "Customary versus Civil Law within Old Regime France," MPRA Paper 52123, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial development; France; Financial markets; Banks; Intermediaries;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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