IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Waterloo: a Godsend for French Public Finances?

  • Kim Oosterlinck
  • Loredana Ureche-Rangau
  • Jacques-Marie Vaslin

Following Waterloo, managing French public finances represented a daunting task. Defeated France had lost a substantial part of its population and territory. The country was partially occupied and France was to pay huge amounts as reparations to the victors. Furthermore, France’s reputation had been tarnished by several defaults on its debt in the preceding decades. Despite all these elements, in the ten years between 1815 and 1825, not only did France manage to place a huge amount of debt on the market (resulting in a threefold increase) but it did so with a spread, compared to the British consol, falling from more than 400 basis points to a meagre 100 basis point. Based on an econometric analysis of the yields of the French rentes, we show that the military threat of the Allied coupled to a significant improvement in French institutions explain the dramatic decrease in yields.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: wp13028
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 13-028.

in new window

Length: 46 p.
Date of creation: 03 Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/145791
Contact details of provider: Postal:
CP114/03, 42 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles

Phone: +32 (0)2 650.48.64
Fax: +32 (0)2 650.41.88
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Marc D. Weidenmier, . "Turning Points during the U.S. Civil War: Views from the Grayback Market," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 1999-24, Claremont Colleges.
  2. Flandreau, Marc & Flores Zendejas, Juan Huitzilihuitl & Gaillard, Norbert & Nieto-Parra, Sebastián, 2009. "The End of Gatekeeping: Underwriters and the Quality of Sovereign Bond Markets, 1815-2007," CEPR Discussion Papers 7347, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Mitchener, Kris James & Weidenmier, Marc, 2005. "Empire, Public Goods, and the Roosevelt Corollary," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(03), pages 658-692, September.
  4. 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.
  5. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 43-50, March.
  6. Gary M Pecquet & Clifford F Thies, 2010. "Texas Treasury Notes and the Mexican-American War: Market Responses to Diplomatic and Battlefield Events," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 88-106.
  7. Rui Pedro Esteves, 2007. "Quis custodiet quem? Sovereign Debt and Bondholders` Protection Before 1914," Economics Series Working Papers 323, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2005. "Supersanctions and Sovereign Debt Repayment," NBER Working Papers 11472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," NBER Working Papers 9908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marc D. Weidenmier, 2002. "Turning Points in the U.S. Civil War: Views from the Grayback Market," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 875-890, April.
  11. Velde, François R. & Weir, David R., 1992. "The Financial Market and Government Debt Policy in France, 1746–1793," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 1-39, March.
  12. Jean Gabillard, 1953. "Le financement des guerres napoléoniennes et la conjoncture du Premier Empire," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 4(4), pages 548-572.
  13. Gelderblom, Oscar & Jonker, Joost, 2011. "Public Finance and Economic Growth: The Case of Holland in the Seventeenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(01), pages 1-39, March.
  14. Filippo Occhino & Kim Oosterlinck & Eugene Nelson White, 2008. "How much can a victor force the vanquished to pay? France under the nazi boot," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/142695, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  15. Kim Oosterlinck, 2010. "Reparations," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/142711, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. Kristen L. Willard & Timothy W. Guinnane & Harvey S. Rosen, 1995. "Turning Points in the Civil War: Views from the Greenback Market," NBER Working Papers 5381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Marc Flandreau & Kim Oosterlinck, 2011. "Was the Emergence of the International Gold Standard Expected?Melodramatic Evidence from Indian Government Securities," Working Papers CEB 11-001, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  18. Frey, Bruno S. & Kucher, Marcel, 2000. "History as Reflected in Capital Markets: The Case of World War II," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(02), pages 468-496, June.
  19. Weir, David R., 1989. "Tontines, Public Finance, and Revolution in France and England, 1688–1789," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(01), pages 95-124, March.
  20. White, Eugene Nelson, 1989. "Was There a Solution to the Ancien Régime's Financial Dilemma?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 545-568, September.
  21. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Critical values for multiple structural change tests," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 6(1), pages 72-78, 06.
  22. Fishlow, Albert, 1985. "Lessons from the past: capital markets during the 19th century and the interwar period," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 383-439, June.
  23. Bollerslev, Tim & Chou, Ray Y. & Kroner, Kenneth F., 1992. "ARCH modeling in finance : A review of the theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 5-59.
  24. Eugene White, 1999. "Making the French Pay: The Costs and Consequences of the Napoleonic Reparations," Departmental Working Papers 199924, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  25. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
  26. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
  27. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  28. Mitchener, Kris James & Weidenmier, Marc D., 2010. "Supersanctions and sovereign debt repayment," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 19-36, February.
  29. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
  30. Albrecht Ritschl, 2012. "The German Transfer Problem, 1920-1933: A Sovereign Debt Perspective," CEP Discussion Papers dp1155, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  31. Musacchio, Aldo, 2008. "Can Civil Law Countries Get Good Institutions? Lessons from the History of Creditor Rights and Bond Markets in Brazil," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(01), pages 80-108, March.
  32. Brown, William O, Jr & Burdekin, Richard C K, 2002. "German Debt Traded in London during the Second World War: A British Perspective on Hitler," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(276), pages 655-69, November.
  33. Marc Flandreau, Juan Flores, 2010. "Hamlet Without The Prince of Denmark: Relationship Banking and Conditionality Lending In The London Market For Foreign Government Debt, 1815 - 1913," IHEID Working Papers 08-2010, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  34. Flandreau, Marc & Flores Zendejas, Juan Huitzilihuitl, 2010. "Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark: Relationship banking and conditionality lending in the London market for government debt, 1815-1913," CEPR Discussion Papers 7915, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  35. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
  36. Frey, Bruno S. & Waldenstr M, Daniel, 2004. "Markets work in war: World War II reflected in the Zurich and Stockholm bond markets," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 51-67, April.
  37. Brown, William O. & Burdekin, Richard C. K., 2000. "Turning Points in the U.S. Civil War: A British Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 216-231, March.
  38. Bordo, Michael D. & White, Eugene N., 1991. "A Tale of Two Currencies: British and French Finance During the Napoleonic Wars," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 303-316, June.
  39. Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2004. "Empire, Public Goods, and the Roosevelt Corollary," NBER Working Papers 10729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Sussman, Nathan & Yafeh, Yishay, 2006. "Institutional Reforms, Financial Development and Sovereign Debt: Britain 1690 1790," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(04), pages 906-935, December.
  41. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "The great reversals: the politics of financial development in the twentieth century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-50, July.
  42. Kim Oosterlinck & Filippo Occhino & Eugene N. White, 2006. "How occupied France financed its own exploitation during WW2," Working Papers CEB 06-012.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  43. Bruno S. Frey & Daniel Waldenstrom, 2007. "Using Financial Markets to Analyze History: The Case of the Second World War," CREMA Working Paper Series 2007-19, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  44. Riva, Angelo & White, Eugene N., 2011. "Danger on the exchange: How counterparty risk was managed on the Paris exchange in the nineteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 478-493.
  45. Dincecco, Mark, 2009. "Fiscal Centralization, Limited Government, and Public Revenues in Europe, 1650–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(01), pages 48-103, March.
  46. Asaf Zussman & Noam Zussman & Morten Orregaard Nielsen, 2008. "Asset Market Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 84-115, 02.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/145791. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Benoit Pauwels)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.