Understanding French economic development in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has always proved a formidable challenge for historians. This concise survey is designed to make clear the areas of controversy among historians, and to guide the reader through the debates. The author provides succinct surveys of recent findings on the pattern of development, and on the underlying causes of that pattern. He argues that France provides a quietly successful case of economic development, avoiding the massive social upheaval experienced elsewhere in Europe.
List of tables and maps; Note of references; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction: the outlines of a debate; 2. The performance of the French economy; 3. Natural resources and the labour supply; 4. Capital and technical progress; 5. An agricultural revolution?; 6. 'The call of the markets': the pressure of demand in the French economy; 7. Social and institutional influences on development; 8. Conclusion; Notes; Select bibliography; Index.