Economic history of France

Economic history of France

This is a history of the economy of France. For more information on historical, cultural, demographic and sociological developments in France, see the chronological era articles in the template to the right. For more information on specific political and governmental regimes in France, see the dynasty and regime articles.

Ancient France

Medieval France

The collapse of the Roman Empire devastated the French economy.Fact|date=September 2007 Town life and trade declined and society became based on the self-sufficient manor. What limited international trade existed in the Merovingian age — primarily in goods such as silk, papyrus, and silver — was carried out by foreign merchants such as Syrians.

Agricultural output began to increase in the Carolingian age as a result of the arrival of new crops, improvements in agricultural production, and good weather conditions. However, this did not lead to the revival of urban life; in fact, urban activity further declined in the Carolingian era as a result of civil war, Arab raids, and Viking invasions.

The High Middle Ages saw a continuation of the agricultural boom of the Carolingian age. In addition, urban life grew during this period; towns such as Paris expanded dramatically. However, in the fourteenth century, bad weather, the Hundred Years War, and the Black Death, led to the temporary collapse of the French economy.

Ancien Régime France

: (For information on the administrative and taxation structure of Ancien Régime France, see Ancien Régime in France.)

(Figures cited in the following section are given in livre tournois, the standard "money of account" used in the period. Comparisons with modern figures are extremely difficult; food items were comparatively cheap, but luxury goods and fabrics were very expensive. In the 15th century, an artisan could earn perhaps 30 livres a year; a great noble could have land revenues from 6000 to 30,000 livres or more. [Kendall, Paul Murray. "Louis XI: The Universal Spider" (New York : Norton, 1971) ISBN 0-393-05380-6, p. 12.] A late seventeenth-century unskilled worker in Paris earned around 250 livres a year [DeJean, Joan. "The Essence of Style: How the French Invented Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour" (New York: Free Press, 2005) ISBN 0-7432-6413-4, ISBN 0-473-26413-7, p. 15.] , while a revenue of 4000 livres a year maintained a relatively successful writer in modest comfort [Viala, Alain. "Naissance de l'écrivain" (Paris: Eds. de Minuit, 1985) ISBN 2-7073-1025-5, p.113, Collection: Le sens commun. ] . At the end of the 18th century, a well-off family could earn 100,000 livres by year, although the most prestigious families could gain twice or three times that much, while, for provincial nobility, yearly earnings of 10,000 livres permitted a minimum of provincial luxury.)


The economy of Renaissance France was, for the first half-century, marked by a dynamic demographic growth and by developments in agriculture and industry. With an estimated population of 17 million in 1400, 20 million in the 1600s, and 28 million in 1789, until 1795 France was the most populated country in Europe (above even Russia and twice the size of Britain and Holland) and the third most populous country in the world, behind only China and India. These demographic changes also led to a massive increase in urban populations, although on the whole France remained a profoundly rural country (over 90% of the population). Paris was one of the most populated cities in Europe (estimated at 400,000 inhabitants in 1550; 650,000 at the end of the 18th century).

Agricultural production of a variety of food items expanded: olives, wine, cider, woad (Fr. "pastel", a source of blue dye), and safron. One also saw the introduction of new products via southern Europe: artichokes, melons, romaine lettuce, eggplants, salsifys, celery, fennel, parsley, and alfalfa; and from the New World: common beans, corn (maize), squash, tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers. These changes notwithstanding, France's agriculture remained attached to medieval techniques, produced low yields, and even with increases in arable land, a maximum expansion was soon reached. The situation was made worse by repeated disastrous harvests from 1550 on (the Rhône river even froze in the harsh winters of 1565, 1569, 1590, 1595, 1603).

Industrial developments greatly affected printing (introduced in 1470 in Paris, 1473 in Lyon) and metallurgy. The introduction of the high-temperature forge (starting in the north-east and spreading across the country) and increased mineral mining were important developments, although France remained poor in many metals (copper, bronze, tin, and lead) which it had to import. Mines and glasswork were privileged with royal tax exemptions for twenty years, and they were two of the industrial sectors in which a noble could invest his money without violating his noble status. Silk production (introduced in Tours in 1470 and in Lyon in 1536) created a thriving market, but French products remained of lesser quality than Italian silks. Wool production was widespread, as was the production of linen and of hemp (both major export products).

After Paris, Rouen was the second largest city in France (70,000 inhabitants in 1550), in large part because of its port. Marseille (French since 1481) was France's second major port: it benefited greatly from France's trading agreements with Suleiman the Magnificent (signed in 1536). To increase maritime activity, François I founded Le Havre in 1517. Other significant ports included Toulon, Saint Malo and La Rochelle.

Lyon was the center of France's banking and international trade markets. Market fairs occurred four times a year and permitted exportation of French goods (cloth, fabrics) and importation of Italian, German, Dutch, English and exotic goods (silks, alum, glass, wools, spices, dyes). Lyon also contained houses of most of Europe's banking families (Fugger, Medici, etc.). Regional markets and trade routes linked Lyon, Paris and Rouen to the rest of the country. Under François I and Henri II, the relationship between imports and exports with England and Spain was in France's favor, and was roughly balanced with the Netherlands, but France had a huge trade deficit with Italy due to the latter's silks and exotic goods. In subsequent decades, English, Dutch and Flemish maritime activity would create conflicts with French trade and displace the major markets to the northwest, leading to the decline of Lyon.

Although France arrived late to the exploration and colonization of the Americas (being initially more interested in the Italian wars), private initiative and piracy brought Bretons, Normans and Basques early to American waters. Starting in 1524, François I began to sponsor exploration of the New World (as by Giovanni da Verrazzano and Jacques Cartier); Henri II sponsored the explorations of Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon (who established a largely Calvinist colony in Rio de Janeiro, 1555-1560). Later, René Goulaine de Laudonnière and Jean Ribault established a Protestant colony in Florida (1562-1565). (see French colonisation of the Americas).

By the middle of the 16th century, France's demographic growth and the increased demand for products, combined with the glut of gold and silver from Africa and the Americas, led to inflation and wage stagnation (grain became five times as expensive from 1520 to 1600). Although many land-owning peasants and enterprising merchants had been able to grow rich during the boom, the standard of living fell greatly for rural peasants (all the more affected by bad harvests). This led to reduced purchasing power and a decline in manufacturing. The monetary crisis would lead to France abandoning (in 1577) the "livre" as its money of account, in favor of the écu in circulation, and banning most foreign currencies.

Meanwhile, France's military ventures in Italy and (later) disastrous civil wars demanded huge sums of cash, levied through the "taille" and other taxes (the taille increased from 2.5 million livres in 1515 to 6 million after 1551; in 1589 the taille reached a record 21 million livres, before dropping), burdening mainly the peasantry. Financial crises hit the royal household repeatedly (in 1523, in order to raise money, François I established a government bond system in Paris, the "rentes sur l'Hôtel de Ville").

The French Wars of Religion were concurrent with crop failures and epidemics. The belligerents also practiced massive "torched earth" strategies to rob their enemies of foodstuffs. Brigands and leagues of self-defense flourished; transport of goods ceased; villagers fled to the woods and abandoned their lands; towns were set on fire. The south was particularly affected: Auvergne, Lyon, Burgundy, Languedoc -- agricultural production in those areas fell roughly 40%. The great banking houses left Lyon (from 75 Italian houses in 1568, there remained only 21 in 1597) [Jouanna, Arlette and Jacqueline Boucher, Dominique Biloghi, Guy Thiec. "Histoire et dictionnaire des Guerres de religion". (Paris: Laffont, 1998) ISBN 2-221-07425-4, pp. 421-422, Collection: Bouquins.] .

Seventeenth century

After 1597, France's economic situation improved and agricultural production was aided by milder weather. Henri IV (with his minister Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully) adopted monetary reforms (better coinage, a return to the livre tournois as account money), reduction of the debt (200 million livres in 1596) and of the tax burden on peasants (attacking abuses, administrative reform, increased charges for official offices, the "paulette"), repurchase of alienated royal lands, improvement of roads and the construction of canals, and the beginning of a state-supervised mercantile philosophy (indebted to Barthélemy Laffemas) and agricultural reforms (indebted to Olivier de Serres). These economic reforms, and mercantilism, would also be the policies of Louis XIII's minister Richelieu. In an effort to counteract foreign imports and exploration, Richelieu sought alliances with Morocco and Persia, and encouraged exploration of New France, the Antilles, Sénégal, Gambia and Madagascar (only the first two were successes at the time). These reforms would establish the groundwork for the Louis XIV's policies.

Louis XIV's glory was irrevocably linked to two great projects, military conquest and the building of Versailles -- both of which required enormous sums of money (from 1664-1690, 81 million livres were spent on the château, 11 million livres alone for the year 1685; the vast sums needed for its construction were often in competition with military expenditures). Louis XIV's economic policy was largely the creation of his minister of finances, Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

Colbert's mercantile system used protectionism and state-sponsored manufacturing, to promote the production of luxury goods over the rest of the economy. The state established new industries (the royal tapestry works at Beauvais, French quarries for marble), took over established industries (the Gobelins tapestry works), protected inventors, invited workmen from foreign countries (Venetian glass and Flemish cloth manufacturing), and prohibited French workmen from emigrating. To maintain the character of French goods in foreign markets, Colbert had the quality and measure of each article fixed by law, and severely punished breaches of the regulations. This massive investment in (and preoccupation with) luxury goods and court life (fashion, decoration, cuisine, urban improvements, etc.), and the mediatization (through such gazettes as the Mercure galant) of these products, elevated France to a role of arbiter of European taste. [Dejean, cit. supra.]

Unable to abolish the duties on the passage of goods from province to province, Colbert did what he could to induce the provinces to equalize them. His régime improved roads and canals. To encourage companies like the important French East India Company (founded in 1664), Colbert granted special privileges to trade with the Levant, Senegal, Guinea and other places, for the importing of coffee, cotton, dyewoods, fur, pepper, and sugar, but none of these ventures proved successful. Colbert achieved a lasting legacy in his establishment of the French royal navy; he reconstructed the works and arsenal of Toulon, founded the port and arsenal of Rochefort, and the naval schools of Rochefort, Dieppe and Saint-Malo. He fortified, with some assistance from Vauban, many ports including those of Calais, Dunkirk, Brest and Le Havre.

Colbert's economic policies were a key element in Louis XIV's creation of a centralized and fortified state and in the promotion of government glory, including the construction of Versailles, but they had many economic failures: they were overly-restrictive on workers, they discouraged inventiveness, and had to be supported by unreasonably-high tariffs.

Louis XIV of France created several additional tax systems, including the "capitation" (begun in 1695) which taxed every person including nobles and the clergy (although exemption could be bought for a large one-time sum) and the "dixième" (1710-1717, restarted in 1733), which was a true tax on income and on property value and was meant to support the military.

The Revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685 created additional economic problems: of the more than 200,000 Huguenot refugees who fled France (to Prussia, Switzerland, England, Ireland, United Provinces, Denmark, and eventually America), many were highly-educated skilled artisans and business-owners (tapestries, weaving, silversmiths, plate-making) who took their skills, businesses (and in some cases their Catholic workers) with them. The expansion of French as a European lingua franca in the 18th century and the modernization of the Prussian army have been credited to the Huguenots.

The wars and the weather at the end of the century brought the economy to the brink: in 1683 the national deficit was 16 million livres; from 1700-1706 it was 750 million livres; from 1708-1715 the deficit reached 1,1 trillion livres. To increase tax revenues, the taille was augmented, as too were the prices of official posts in the administration and judicial system. With the borders guarded, international trade was severely hindered. The economic plight of the vast majority of the French population -- predominantly simple farmers -- was extremely precarious, and the effects of the "Little Ice Age" made themselves felt in deadly-cold winters and crop failures, from the 1680s on (in 1693-1694, France lost 6% of its population; in the extremely harsh winter of 1709, France lost 3.5% of its population [Pillorget, René and Suzanne Pillorget. "France Baroque, France Classique 1589-1715" (Paris: Laffont, 1995) ISBN 2-221-04868-7 (v. 1), ISBN 2-221-08110-2 (v. 2), p. 996, pp. 1155-7, Collection: Bouquins.] . Unwilling to sell or transport their much-needed grain to the army, many peasants rebelled or attacked grain convoys, but they were repressed by the state. Meanwhile, wealthy families with stocks of grains survived relatively unscathed; in 1689 and again in 1709, in a gesture of solidarity with his suffering people, Louis XIV had his royal dinnerware and other objects of gold and silver melted down.

Eighteenth century

France experienced a slow economic and demographic recovery in the first decades following the death of Louis XIV, although monetary confidence was briefly eroded by the disastrous paper money "System" introduced by John Law from 1716-1720 (in 1726, under Louis XV's minister Cardinal Fleury, a system of monetary stability was put in place, leading to a strict conversion rate between gold and silver, and set values for the coins in circulation in France).

Starting in the late 1730s and early 1740s however, and continuing for the next 30 years, France's population and economy underwent an important expansion (of all European countries, France's economic growth was second only to that of Great Britain, but it was the richest country in Europe during this period), and rising prices (particularly for agricultural products) were extremely profitable for large landholders (nobles, clergy, bourgeois, and wealthy peasants); artisans and tenant farmers also saw wage increases, but on the whole they benefited less from the growing economy. Important developments in agriculture (modern techniques of crop rotation, the use of fertilizers) modelled on successes in Britain and Italy began to be introduced in parts of France, but still would take several generations to spread across the country. The farming of recent New World crops (maize, potatoes) continued to expand, and provided an important supplement to the diet.

The most dynamic industries of the period were mines, metallurgy and textiles (in particular printed fabrics, such as those made by Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf), often thanks to foreigners (John Kay, John Holker) and foreign technology (such as the steam engine). Capital remained difficult to raise for commercial ventures, however, and the state remained highly mercantilistic, protectionist, and interventionist in the domestic economy (setting requirements for production quality and industrial standards, limiting industries to certain cities, etc.).

The international commercial centers of the country were based in Lyon, Marseille, Nantes (the largest port in the country) and Bordeaux, and these last two cities saw phenomenal growth due to trade with Spain and Portugal (Cadiz was the commercial hub for export of French printed fabrics to India), the Americas and the Antilles (coffee, sugar, tobacco, American cotton), and Africa (the slave trade, centered in Nantes).

In 1749, a new tax (modelled on the "dixième"), the "vingtième" (or "one-twentieth"), was enacted to reduce the royal deficit, and this tax continued throughout the ancien régime. This tax was based solely on revenues (5% of net earnings from land, property, commerce, industry and from official offices), and was meant to touch all citizens regardless of status, but the clergy, the regions with "pays d'état" and the parlements protested; the clergy won exemption, the "pays d'état" won reduced rates, and the parlements halted new income statements, effectively making the "vingtième" a far less efficient tax than it was designed to be. The financial needs of the Seven Years' War led to a second (1756-1780), and then a third (1760-1763) "vingtième" being created. In 1754 the "vingtième" produced 11.7 million livres.

The later years of Louis XV's reign saw some economic setbacks (the Seven Years' War, 1756-1763, led to an increase in the royal debt and the loss of nearly all of France's North American possessions), but the French economy began truly to enter a state of crisis in 1775, starting with an extended reduction in agricultural prices over 12 years (with dramatic crashes in 1777 and 1786), and further complicated by climatic events (the winters from 1785-1789 were disastrous).

With the government deeply in debt, Louis XVI permitted the radical reforms of Turgot and Malesherbes, but noble disaffection led to Turgot's dismissal and Malesherbes' resignation 1776. Jacques Necker replaced them. Louis supported the American Revolution in 1778, but in the Treaty of Paris (1783), the French gained little except an addition to the country's enormous debt, and the government was forced to increase taxes (such as the "vingtième") and loans. Necker had resigned in 1781, to be replaced temporarily by Calonne and Brienne, but he was restored to power in 1788.

In these last decades, French industries continued to develop (introduction of mechanization, creation of factories, mergers and monopolies), but this growth was complicated by competition from England (textiles, cotton). On the other hand, French commercial ventures continued to expand, both domestically and internationally. The American War of Independence had led to a reduction of trade (cotton and slaves), but by the 1780s American trade was stronger than before. Similarly, the Antilles represented the major source for European sugar and coffee, and it was a huge importer of slaves through Nantes. Paris became France's center of international banking and stock trades, in these last decades (like Amsterdam and London), and the "Caisse d'Escompte" was founded in 1776 (paper money was re-introduced, denominated in livres; these were issued until 1793).

The agricultural and climatic problems of the 1770s and 1780s led to an important increase in poverty (in some cities in the north, historians have estimated the poor as reaching upwards of 20% of the urban population), displacement (although France remained well behind Britain in its urban development and growth of a working class) and criminality (mainly theft), and the growth of groups of mendicants and bandits became a problem. Although nobles, bourgeois and wealthy landholders saw their revenues affected by the depression, the hardest-hit in this period were the working class (including children and women) and the peasants (while their tax burden to the state had generally decreased in this period, feudal and seigneurial dues had increased).

The French Revolution would put an end to France's industrial development, leaving France greatly behind Britain for the next half a century.

Modern France

French economic history since its end-18th century Revolution was tied to three major events and trends: the Napoleonic Era, the "industrialization" competition with Britain and its other neighbors, and the "total wars" of the late-19th and early 20th centuries. The post-war period, since 1950, saw significant new departures in both economic development and the policies designed to affect it.

The Napoleonic Era

The constant "war-footing" of the Napoleonic Era, 1795-1815, stimulated production at the cost of investment and growth. Production of armaments and other military supplies, fortifications, and the general channeling of the society toward the establishment and maintenance of massed armies, temporarily increased economic activity after several years of revolution. The rampant inflation of the Revolutionary era was halted by not printing the new currency quite as fast. The maritime Continental Blockade, implemented by Napoleon's opponents and very effectively enforced by the Royal Navy, gradually cut into any economic arena in which the French economy was not self-sufficient. Final defeat of the French forces, in 1815, and consequent collapse of its war-footing industries, exposed these economic hardships.


Re-establishing the economy on a peacetime basis, after a quarter-century of nearly-continuous turmoil and warfare, proved difficult. Some industry and industrial technique developed for the wars was carried over, converted to peacetime purposes. France in 1815 largely still was a land of peasantry, however. Urbanization of the largest cities was well under way, and Paris was a leading world capital already. Smaller French towns and the country's many small villages, however, were impoverished and industrially-backward.

The 19th century development of French road and rail systems, and other social infrastructure, was greatly aided by the grandes écoles, inherited from the prior era: graduates of these high-standards schools became the engineers and policy-makers of French industrialization.

Industrial development in France was rapid, during the 19th century. Around the great cities, and in the north and in other areas which had natural resources readily available, large industries formed. Capital was available through banking services largely located, since the Revolution, in Paris. The large French population of the time supplied an available workforce.

Education was made a high priority of successive French governments. Various educational reforms, implemented from the central government at Paris and applied nationally, were designed to raise the general level of the children of French rural and smalltown families to a high national level. At the same time, education spread new and often radical ideas, fueling repeated resistance to and even revolt against the deplorable living conditions of many workers in the new industries and factory towns.

By the end of the 19th century, France had joined the industrial era. But it had joined late, and comparatively it had lost in the competition with its war-footing neighbor Germany, and with its trade-based chief rival across the Channel, Great Britain. France had great industry and infrastructure and factories, by 1900; but compared to Germany and Britain was "behind", so that people spoke of and French politicians complained of "the French backwardness (le retard français)".

Total War

In 1870 the first signs of French industrial and general economic decline started to appear, compared to their new neighbor in Bismarck's newly-united Germany, appeared during the Franco-Prussian War. The total defeat of France, in this conflict, was less a demonstration of French weakness than it was of German militarism and industrial strength. This in contrast to France's occupation of Germany during the Napoleonic wars. A huge sum had to be paid to Germany to end the war which provided the latter with even more capital.

By 1914, however, German armament and general industrialization had out-distanced not only France but all of its neighbors. Just before 1914, France was producing about one-sixth as much Coal as Germany, made less than a third as much Pig iron and a quarter as much Steel. [Roberts, J: "History of the World.". Penguin, 1994.] In a scenario recounted best in Barbara Tuchman's book "The Guns of August" [Tuchman, Barbara W.. "The Guns of August" (New York : Ballantine, 1994) ISBN 0-345-38623-X] , France together with Germany's other competitors had entered a "war-footing" rearmament race which, once again, temporarily stimulated spending while reducing saving and investment.

The First World War — the "Great War" — however produced an economic outcome disastrous for all parties (except the US), not just for the German losers. As predicted by Keynes in his bitter post-Versailles Conference book, "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" [Keynes, John Maynard. "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" (London : Macmillan, 1919)] , the heavy war reparations imposed upon Germany not only were insufficient to fuel French economic recovery, they greatly damaged a Germany which might have become France's leading trade and industrial development partner, thereby seriously damaging France as well.

And their very heavy loss of life, in the "Great War", robbed France of a generation of its youth, and of some of the youthful imagination necessary for facing Germany again, only 25 years later, in the Second World War, when a by-then aged French general staff was ill-prepared and entirely-defensive up against an even more militant German economy and army. Damaged by the Great Depression, the older leaders left in France were reluctant to assume a "war-footing" economy yet again, and France was overrun and occupied by Nazi Germany, and its wartime economy turned entirely to supporting Germany and the German war effort.

Post-War to 2000

The great hardships of wartime, and of the immediate post-war period, were succeeded by a period of steady economic development, in France, now often fondly recalled there as "The Thirty Glorious Years (Les Trente Glorieuses"). Alternating policies of "interventionist" and "free market" ideas enabled the French to build a society in which both industrial and technological advances could be made but also worker security and privileges established and protected. By the end of the 20th century, France once again was among the leading economic powers of the world, although by the year 2000 there already was some fraying around the edges: people in France and elsewhere were asking whether France alone, without becoming even more an integral part of a pan-European economy, would have sufficient market presence to maintain its position, and that worker security and those privileges, in an increasingly "Globalized" and "transnational" economic world. Also, since 1990s, France has seen very slow economic growth, while its competitors, U.K. and Germany, have seen better economic growth.

The reconstruction and the Welfare State

The reconstruction began at the end of the war, in 1945, and confidence in the future brough back. With the « baby boom » (which had started as soon as 1942) the natality rate surged rapidly. It took several years to fix the damages caused by the war – battles and bombing had destroyed several cities, factories, bridges, railway infrastructures. [ site France-Diplomatie] ] 1,200,000 buildings were destroyed or damaged. [Asselain, Jean-Charles. "Histoire économique de la France du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours", p. 108]

In 1945, the provisional government of the French Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle and made up of communists, socialists and gaullists, nationalized key economic sectors (energy, air transport, savings banks, assurances) and big companies (Renault…), creation of Social Security and of works councils. A welfare is set up. Economic planiofication is set up with the Commissariat général du Plan in 1946, led by Jean Monnet; the first « Plan de modernisation et d’équipement », for the 1947-1952 period, focused on basic economic activities (energy, steel, cement, transports, agriculture equipements) ; the second Plan (1954-1957) had broader aims : housing construction, urban developement, scientific research, manufacturing industries. [J.-C. Asselain, "op. cit.", p. 112]

Les Trente Glorieuses

Between 1947 and 1973, France went through a booming period (5% per year in average) dubbed by Jean Fourastié "Trente Glorieuses", title of a book published in 1979. The economic growth is mainly due to productivity gains and to an increase in the number of working hours. Indeed, the working population was growing very slowly, the "baby boom" being offset by the extension of the time dedicated to studies. Productivity gains came from the catching up with the United States. In 1950, the average income in France is half as big as that of an American (0,55), and reach four fifth in 1973.

To insist that the period is not that of an economic miracle, but a mere catching up following an economic lag, the French historian Jacques Marseille noted that if the economy had constantly grown at the same rate as that of the « Belle Époque », the wealth would have been the same at the beginning of the 1970s as that actualy reached after the Trente glorieuses. [Jacques Marseille, « Le miracle des « trente glorieuses » ? », "Enjeux, Les Échos", janvier 2006]

The economic crisis

Whereas the term "crisis" is often used by people to refer to the period following the 1973 oil crisis history does not confirm this belief. Facts show that the average income in France, after having been steady for a long time, has increased elevenfold between 1700 and 1975, impressive result, by which correspond to a 0.9% growth rate on a yearly basis, whereas the rate has almost be overstep every year since 1975.

If the economic growth has been less strong since 1973 than in previous years, the period remains one of the most prosperous in ths History for France. Jacques Marseille noted that the growth of the living standart has been as important between 1973 and 2003 as between the Trente glorieuses, in absolute, while very below relatively.

Often considered as a decisive event, the oil crisis in 1973 did not suddenly stalled the growth of the Trente glorieuses, for it had already slown since the end of the 1960s. The impact of the crisis on the cost of energy, and so on the cost of production, were an aggravating factor.

"For information on France's current economy, see Economy of France".


elected Bibliography

(English language only; in order by era, then by date, most recent first)


* Braudel, Fernand. "Civilization and capitalism, 15th-18th century (Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme)" (Berkeley : University of California Press, 1992) ISBN 0-520-08114-5 (v. 1), ISBN 0-520-08115-3 (v. 2), ISBN 0-520-08116-1 (v. 3).
* Braudel, Fernand. "The wheels of commerce (Jeux de l'Echange)" translation from the French by Siân Reynolds (London : Fontana Press, 1985) ISBN 0-00-686078-8.
* Pirenne, Henri. "Economic and social history of medieval Europe" (New York : Harcourt, Brace & World, [1966] ).


* Farmer, Sharon A.. "Surviving poverty in medieval Paris : gender, ideology, and the daily lives of the poor" (Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2002) ISBN 0-8014-3836-5.
* Bouchard, Constance Brittain. "Holy entrepreneurs : Cistercians, knights, and economic exchange in twelfth-century Burgundy" (Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1991) ISBN 0-8014-2527-1.
* Shatzmiller, Joseph. "Shylock reconsidered : Jews, moneylending, and medieval society" (Berkeley : University of California Press, c1990) ISBN 0-520-06635-9.
* Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel. "The peasants of Languedoc (Paysans de Languedoc)" translated with an introd. by John Day (Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [1974] ) ISBN 0-252-00411-6.
* Bloch, Marc Léopold Benjamin. "doooookkieFeudal society (Société féodale)" translated from the French by L. A. Manyon ; with a new foreword by T. S. Brown (London ; New York : Routledge, 1989, c1961) ISBN 0-415-03917-7 (hbk.), ISBN 0-415-03916-9 (pbk. v.1), ISBN 0-415-03918-5 (pbk. v.2).

Early Modern

* Lewis, Gwynne. "France, 1715-1804 : power and the people" (Harlow, England ; New York : Pearson/Longman, 2005) ISBN 0-582-23925-7.
* Winks, Robin W., and Thomas E. Kaiser. "Europe, 1648-1815 : from the old regime to the age of revolution" (New York : Oxford University Press, 2004) ISBN 0-19-515445-2, ISBN 0-19-515446-0.
* Ellis, Geoffrey James. "The Napoleonic empire" 2nd. ed. (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) ISBN 0-333-99005-6.
* Heller, Henry. "Labour, science and technology in France, 1500-1620" (Cambridge, [UK] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1996) ISBN 0-521-55031-9.
* Hoffman, Philip T.. "Growth in a traditional society : the French countryside, 1450-1815" (Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1996) ISBN 0-691-02983-0.
* Szostak, Rick. "The role of transportation in the Industrial Revolution : a comparison of England and France" (Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1991) ISBN 0-7735-0840-6.
* Aftalion, Florin. "The French Revolution, an economic interpretation (Economie de la Révolution française)" translated by Martin Thom (Cambridge [UK] ; New York : Cambridge University Press ; Paris : Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, 1990) ISBN 0-521-36241-5, ISBN 0-521-36810-3.


* Asselain, Jean-Charles. "Histoire économique de la France du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours" (in French, 2 volumes, Seuil, coll. Points Histoire, 1984)
* Lebovics, Herman. "Bringing the Empire back home : France in the global age" (Durham : Duke University Press, 2004) ISBN 0-8223-3260-4.
* Hancké, Bob. "Large firms and institutional change : industrial renewal and economic restructuring in France" (Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2002) ISBN 0-19-925205-X.
* Johnson, H. Clark. "Gold, France, and the Great Depression, 1919-1932" (New Haven [Conn.] ; London : Yale University Press, c1997) ISBN 0-300-06986-3.
* Price, Roger. "An economic history of modern France, 1730-1914" (London : Macmillan, 1981) ISBN 0-333-30545-0, ISBN 0-333-29321-5 ; revised edition of Price, Roger. "The economic modernisation of France, 1730-1880" (New York : Wiley, 1975) ISBN 0-470-69722-9.
* Clapham, Sir John H, "The Economic Development of France and Germany" - Official Historian of Bank of England, 1944.

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