An Economic History of Modern France

An Economic History of Modern France

An Economic History of Modern France

An Economic History of Modern France

Excerpt

ECONOMIC GROWTH IN France in the nineteenth century took place against a demographic background which presented striking contrasts. In the first part of the century, although its dynamism as regards population was already less marked than that of other European countries, France, according to some observers, was on the brink of overpopulation. Yet from the 1870s onward, France's population growth was close to zero. In order to study the relation between the two factors, we shall define the pattern of population growth, try to evaluate the growth of national income, and then compare the two.

Population. Table 1.1 shows the main periods in the evolution of the population in France during the nineteenth century. Compared with that of other European countries, population growth in France between 1816 and 1846 is low. The population of France increased by 18 percent as against 50 percent in Great Britain. Between 1800 and 1850 the population of France increased by 0.5 percent per year, as against 0.74 percent in Germany. But this increase is high compared with later figures. Between 1846 and 1886 the increase was only about half what it had been in the first part of the century. From 1886 to the end of the century, France was close to stagnation.

This pattern is the result of facts which, as a whole, are quite well known. The slowness of population growth over the . . .

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