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The French Revolution and German industrialization: The new institutional economics rewrites history

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  • Kopsidis, Michael
  • Bromley, Daniel W.

Abstract

Our purpose here is to challenge the big-bang approach to economic history in which some alleged institutional imposition - a deus machine - is claimed to launch a series of new economic behaviors. This so-called prime mover is then carried forward by the inexorable forces of path dependency to change the course of history. The specific creation story under investigation here is the French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic conquest of parts of Germany. We show that recent efforts to re-write German economic history using this theoretical model cannot be supported by the abundant and concerted empirical evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Kopsidis, Michael & Bromley, Daniel W., 2014. "The French Revolution and German industrialization: The new institutional economics rewrites history," IAMO Discussion Papers 149, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iamodp:149
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutional change; French Revolution; Germany; Prussian reforms; agricultural development; industrialization;

    JEL classification:

    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N63 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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