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How Occupied France Financed Its Own Exploitation in World War II


  • Filippo Occhino
  • Kim Oosterlinck
  • Eugene N. White


The occupation payments made by France to Nazi Germany between 1940 and 1944 represent one of the largest recorded international transfers and contributed significantly to financing the overall German war effort. Using a neoclassical growth model that incorporates essential features of the occupied economy and the postwar stabilization, we assess the welfare costs of French policies that funded payments to Germany. Occupation payments required a 16 percent reduction of consumption for twenty years, with the draft of labor to Germany and wage and price controls adding substantially to this burden. Vichy%u2019s postwar debt overhang would have demanded large budget surpluses; but inflation, which erupted after Liberation, reduced the debt well below its steady state level and redistributed the adjustment costs. The Marshall Plan played only a minor direct role, and international credits helped to substantially lower the nation%u2019s burden.

Suggested Citation

  • Filippo Occhino & Kim Oosterlinck & Eugene N. White, 2006. "How Occupied France Financed Its Own Exploitation in World War II," NBER Working Papers 12137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12137
    Note: DAE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael D. Bordo & Dominique Simard & Eugene White, 1994. "France and the Bretton Woods International Monetary System: 1960-1968," NBER Working Papers 4642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. S. Rebelo., 2010. "Real Business Cycle Models: Past, Present, and Future," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 10.
    3. Ohanian, Lee E, 1997. "The Macroeconomic Effects of War Finance in the United States: World War II and the Korean War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 23-40, March.
    4. Oosterlinck, Kim, 2003. "The bond market and the legitimacy of Vichy France," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 326-344, July.
    5. Ellen R. M cG rattan & Lee E. Ohanian, 2010. "Does Neoclassical Theory Account For The Effects Of Big Fiscal Shocks? Evidence From World War Ii," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 509-532, May.
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    7. Rockoff, Hugh, 1981. "Price and Wage Controls in Four Wartime Periods," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(02), pages 381-401, June.
    8. Piketty, Thomas, 2001. "Income Inequality in France 1901-98," CEPR Discussion Papers 2876, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jérôme Blanc, 2008. "Pouvoirs et monnaie durant la seconde guerre mondiale en France : la monnaie subordonnée au politique," Post-Print halshs-00652826, HAL.
    2. Kim Oosterlinck & Loredana Ureche-Rangau & Jacques-Marie Vaslin, 2013. "Waterloo: a Godsend for French Public Finances?," Working Papers 0041, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Huff, Gregg & Majima, Shinobu, 2013. "Financing Japan's World War II Occupation of Southeast Asia," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 73(04), pages 937-977, December.
    4. David, Geraldine, 2016. "Art as an investment in a historical perspective," Other publications TiSEM 2361da4b-d827-4cae-91ce-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Kim Oosterlinck, 2013. "Art as a Wartime Investment: Conspicuous Consumption and Discretion," Working Papers CEB 13-039, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    6. Ran Abramitzky, 2015. "Economics and the Modern Economic Historian," NBER Working Papers 21636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • E1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation

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