The Fruits of Revolution: Property Rights, Litigation and French Agriculture, 1700-1860

The Fruits of Revolution: Property Rights, Litigation and French Agriculture, 1700-1860

by Jean-Laurent Rosenthal
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521103126

ISBN-13: 9780521103121

Pub. Date: 03/19/2009

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

In The Fruits of Revolution Jean-Laurent Rosenthal investigates two central questions in French economic history: To what extent did institutions hold back agricultural development under the Old Regime, and did reforms carried out during the French Revolution significantly improve the structure of property rights in agriculture? Both questions have been the subject of…  See more details below

Overview

In The Fruits of Revolution Jean-Laurent Rosenthal investigates two central questions in French economic history: To what extent did institutions hold back agricultural development under the Old Regime, and did reforms carried out during the French Revolution significantly improve the structure of property rights in agriculture? Both questions have been the subject of much debate. Historians have touched on them in a number of local studies, yet usually they have been more concerned with community conflict than with economic development. Economists generally have researched the performance of the French economy without paying much attention to the impact of institutions on specific areas of the economy. This book attempts to utilize the best of both approaches: It focuses on broad questions of economic change, yet it is based on detailed archival investigations of the impact of property rights on water control. Part I provides both an introduction to French economic history between 1700 and 1860 and an introduction to the economic literature on property rights and institutions. Part II first looks at water control from a national perspective and then examines two case studies, one of drainage in Normandy and one of irrigation in Provence. The national evidence shows that most water control efforts failed before 1789, whereas 1820-60 were boom years for irrigation and drainage. Quantitative and qualitative evidence suggests that neither technology nor relative prices were responsible for the failure to develop agriculture under the Old Regime; rather, ambiguous property rights, divided authority, and endless litigation all conspired to reduce the efficacy of water control. The Revolution solved important institutional problems for the countryside by centralizing authority over eminent domain, reforming the judiciary, and clarifying property rights to land water. As a result, after 1820 water control flourished. Part III of the book is devoted to explaining why i

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521103121
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
03/19/2009
Series:
Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
236
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of tables, figures, and maps
Series editors' preface
Preface
1Introduction1
Pt. IHistory and Economics
2The French Revolution and French economic history9
3Institutions and economic growth21
Pt. IIDrainage and Irrigation
4A survey of water control projects39
5Relative prices and the supply of water control59
6Drainage in the Pays d'Auge, 1700-1848: the weight of uncertain property rights71
7The development of irrigation in Provence, 1700-1860: the French Revolution and economic growth100
Pt. IIIProperty Rights and Litigation Under Absolutism
8The weaknesses of monopoly power125
9Settlement, litigation, and the drainage of marshes in England and France, 1600-1840149
10Conclusion171
Appendix 1 Wages, land prices, and interest rates180
Appendix 2 Estimating rates of return189
Appendix 3 Theoretical proofs196
Bibliography202
Index213

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