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

  • Kopsidis, Michael
  • Bromley, Daniel W.

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.

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Paper provided by Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO) in its series IAMO Discussion Papers with number 149.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:iamodp:149
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  1. Ulrich Pfister & Jana Riedel & Martin Uebele, 2012. "Real Wages and the Origins of Modern Economic Growth in Germany, 16th to 19th Centuries," Working Papers 0017, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  2. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," NBER Working Papers 17037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Cantoni, Davide & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2011. "The consequences of radical reform: The French revolution," Munich Reprints in Economics 20170, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Michael Kopsidis & Nikolaus Wolf, 2012. "Agricultural Productivity Across Prussia During the Industrial Revolution: A ThŸnen Perspective," Working Papers 0013, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  5. Clark, Gregory, 1987. "Productivity Growth without Technical Change in European Agriculture before 1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(02), pages 419-432, June.
  6. Ulrich Pfister & Georg Fertig, 2010. "The population history of Germany: research strategy and preliminary results," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2010-035, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  7. Grantham, George, 1999. "Contra Ricardo: On the macroeconomics of pre-industrial economies," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 199-232, August.
  8. Grantham, George W., 1980. "The Persistence of Open-Field Farming in Nineteenth-Century France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(03), pages 515-531, September.
  9. Crouzet, François, 1964. "Wars, Blockade, and Economic Change in Europe, 1792–1815," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 567-588, December.
  10. Tilly, Richard, 1966. "The Political Economy of Public Finance and the Industrialization of Prussia, 1815–1866," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(04), pages 484-497, December.
  11. Kopsidis Michael, 2002. "The Creation of a Westphalian Rye Market 1820-1870: Leading and Following Regions, a Co-Integration Analysis," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 43(2), pages 85-112, December.
  12. Kopsidis Michael, 1998. "Der westfälische Agrarmarkt im Integrationsprozeß 1780-1880. Phasen und Einflußfaktoren der Marktentwicklung in historischen Transformationsprozessen," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 39(2), pages 169-198, December.
  13. Kisch, Herbert, 1989. "From Domestic Manufacture to Industrial Revolution: The Case of the Rhineland Textile Districts," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195051117, March.
  14. Kopsidis, Michael & Hockmann, Heinrich, 2010. "Technical change in Westphalian peasant agriculture and the rise of the Ruhr, circa 1830–1880," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 209-237, August.
  15. Grantham, George W., 1978. "The Diffusion of the New Husbandry in Northern France, 1815–1840," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(02), pages 311-337, June.
  16. Ewert, Ulf Christian, 2006. "The biological standard of living on the decline: Episodes from Germany during early industrialisation," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 51-88, April.
  17. Ogilvie Sheilagh, 2004. "Women and Labour Markets in Early Modern Germany," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 45(2), pages 25-60, December.
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