The Evolution of Wages in Early Modern Normandy (1600-1850) with Cédric Chambru (University of Zurich)
This paper presents new estimations of wages for Normandy between 1600 and 1850. We used a vast array of primary and secondary sources to assemble two new databases on wages and commodity prices to establish a new regional consumer price index (CPI) and twelve regional wage series. We posit that the sluggish demographic growth during the 18th century, and the resulting labour shortage, led to a convergence of wages across unskilled occupations and a relative catch-up with urban skilled construction labourers in the years preceding the French Revolution. We also provide tentative evidence suggesting that labourers in stable employment could have earned as much as their English counterparts during this period. Working paper available here
From War to the “Doux Commerce” : the Commercial Consequences of Peace in Normandy
This paper analyzes the economic consequences in Normandy of the peace treaty signed in 1783 and the signature of the Eden Agreement in 1786 between France and England. To approach the consequences of this “diplomatic” and “intellectual” Revolution I use data on commercial flows between Norman and England ports which allow for a classification of the kinds of goods imported and exported. I complete the commercial data with original archives from the juridiction of the Admiralty.
A version of this paper was presented at the French Modern Workshop of the University of Chicago and a second version at the annual conference of the French Economy History Association in Paris (December 2019). This presentation was awarded by the French Economic History Association AFHE for the best young researcher presentation in 2019.
The Historical Social Conflict Database: An Investigation into Trade Shcocks and Rural Protest in Revolutionnary Normandy with Cédric Chambru (University of Zurich)
This paper relies on the newly created Historical Social Conflict Database (HISCOD) to analyse the occurrence of social conflict in Normandy during the late 18th century. We take advantage of the signature of a new trade agreement concluded between England and France in 1786, the so-called “Eden Treaty”, to investigate the socio-economic effects of a rapidly increasing competitive environment. In Normandy, one of the most industrialised region of France at the time, the imports of cotton’s textile from Britain provoked an important decrease of the region’s industrial production and a severe socio-economic crisis from 1787 onward. Within few months, Norman textile manufacturers had to reduce their production, dismiss workers, and, sometimes declare bankruptcy. Unemployment and vagrancy quickly rose and many social conflict occurred in different parts of the province. Using this case study, we show how the Historical Social Conflict Database can be combined with various set of socio-economic data to provide new insights into the historiography of social conflict. We further showcase the various possibilities to use HISCOD as a working repository for both qualitative and quantitative studies.
A version of this paper will be presented at the EURHO in Uppsala (2021) during a session on Social Conflicts in Early Modern Europe: New tools and New Perspectives.
From Ports to the Countryside : the Social Consequences of the 1786 Eden Treaty
In 1787, the application of the Eden Treaty established a competitive system between France and England. In Normandy, one of the most industrialized region of France, the cotton textile imports from Britain provoked an important decrease of the region’s industrial production. Unable to sustain the competition from England, Norman manufacturers had to reduce their production by dismissing workers or declaring bankruptcy. In the following months, unemployment and vagrancy quickly rose and many social conflicts occurred in different parts of the province. Using merchants’ bankruptcy records, state surveys quantifying begging and unemployment, and social conflict data from the French Revolution, this paper analyzes the socio-economic consequences and the intensity of the Eden Treaty shock on the eve of the French Revolution.
A version of this paper will be presented at the WEHC in Paris (2020) during a session on the Consequences of Trade Agreements (G. Daudin, L. Charles).
Geographies of Discontent: Regional Manufacturing Decline and Satisfaction with Democracy with Anne-Marie Jeannet (University of Milan) and Chiara Allegri (Bocconi University)
This article aims to investigate how exposure to regional industrial decline has affected citizens’ satisfaction with democracy. Previous research has investigated the impact of macro-economic fluctuations on citizen satisfaction with democracy yet the role of economic structural changes is overlooked. We advance a theoretical framework positing that, due to the industrial past, positive citizen assessments of democracy have become contingent upon a stable availability of industrial work. We also identify regions as a source of contextual exposure to deindustrialization, which is independent from a person’s occupation or social class. To empirically test this, we estimate the impact of regional industrial decline on citizen satisfaction with democracy by exploiting its regional and temporal variation in Europe using Eurobarometer data (1980-2018). The findings are consistent with a socio-tropic interpretation of economic performance theory, whereby individuals who have been exposed to a regional decline in industry are less satisfied with democracy even when taking into account social class or other relevant individual attributes. We corroborate this finding by applying an instrumental variable approach using the spatial location of historical coal fields as an instrument for regional deindustrialization. Our findings imply that democratic discontent brought about by industrial decline is not only a working class phenomenon but that economic restructuring has diffuse effects on democratic dissatisfaction at the regional level.