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France and the Failure to Modernize Macroeconomic Institutions

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  • Eugene White

    () (Rutgers University and NBER)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Eugene White, 1999. "France and the Failure to Modernize Macroeconomic Institutions," Departmental Working Papers 199904, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:199904
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    File URL: http://www.sas.rutgers.edu/virtual/snde/wp/1999-04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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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    Cited by:

    1. Peter L. Rousseau & Richard Sylla, 2003. "Financial Systems, Economic Growth, and Globalization," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 373-416 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Cantoni & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2011. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 3286-3307.
    3. Eugene White, 2001. "France's Slow Transition from Privatized to Government-Administered Tax Collection: Tax Farming in the Eighteenth Century," Departmental Working Papers 200116, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    France; History; Macroeconomic policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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