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Published December 1991 | Published
Journal Article Open

Land Rents and Agricultural Productivity: The Paris Basin, 1450-1789


Using evidence from leases and price series, this article examines the total factor productivity of farming in the Paris Basin between 1450 and 1789. Existing evidence about productivity is unreliable, the article argues, and the leases provide historians with a new and valuable source for the study of productivity and economic growth. The article defends the methods used with the leases, which point to spurts of noteworthy growth on local farms but also to setbacks during times of war and increased taxation. It concludes with an analysis of the causes of economic growth in preindustrial agriculture.

Additional Information

© 1991 Economic History Association. The author has benefited form the reaction of audiences at UC Davis, the University of Illinois, Washington University, the Second World Congress of Cliometrics, the 1989 and 1991 conventions of the Society for French Historical Studies, and the 1989 meeting of the All-UC Economic History Group. Robert Allen, Philip Benedict, Jean-Michel Chevet, Robert Forster, Jack Gladstone, George Grantham, Shawn Kantor, Peter Lindert, Ted Margadant, Larry Neal, Kate Norberg, John Nye, Gilles Postel-Vinay, Angela Redish, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, Ken Sokoloff, and David Weir deserve special thanks. A longer version of this paper contains appendices not published here, which will be referred to in the notes and tables as Hoffman, "Land Rents" or simply as "my appendix X."

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