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France and the Failure to Modernize Macroeconomic Institutions

  • Eugene White


    (Rutgers University and NBER)

While a great power in the eighteenth century, France fell behind Britain's lead in modernizing her macroeconomic institutions. This paper examines the development of French macroeconomic institutions from the middle ages to the eighteenth century in a comparative framework. Theories of optimal macroeconomic policy and sovereign debt identify the key weaknesses of French institutions that imposed inferior policy choices on the government. Radical reform was blocked by a political economy created by medieval and early modern France. The difficulty experienced by the government in mobilizing resources to fight wars was a key factor contributing to the loss of France's overseas empire in the eighteenth century.

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Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 199904.

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Date of creation: 03 Mar 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:199904
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  1. Glassman, Debra & Redish, Angela, 1988. "Currency depreciation in early modern England and France," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 75-97, January.
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