The Effects of Land Redistribution: Evidence from the French Revolution

53 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2020

See all articles by Theresa Finley

Theresa Finley

Susquehanna University

Raphaël Franck

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Noel Johnson

George Mason University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

This study exploits the confiscation and auctioning off of Church property that occurred during the French Revolution to assess the role played by transaction costs in delaying the reallocation of property rights in the aftermath of fundamental institutional reform. French districts with a greater proportion of land redistributed during the Revolution experienced higher levels of agricultural productivity in 1841 and 1852 as well as more investment in irrigation and more efficient land use. We trace these increases in productivity to an increase in land inequality associated with the Revolutionary auction process. We also show how the benefits associated with the head-start given to districts with more Church land initially, and thus greater land redistribution by auction during the Revolution, dissipated over the course of the nineteenth century as other districts gradually overcame the transaction costs associated with reallocating the property rights associated with the feudal system.

Keywords: institutions, property rights, French Revolution, Coase Theorem

JEL Classification: N530, O430, P140, D470

Suggested Citation

Finley, Theresa and Franck, Raphaël and Johnson, Noel, The Effects of Land Redistribution: Evidence from the French Revolution (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8622, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3715274

Theresa Finley (Contact Author)

Susquehanna University ( email )

514 University Ave
Selinsgrove, PA 17870-1164

HOME PAGE: http://https://theresafinley.com/

Raphaël Franck

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Noel Johnson

George Mason University

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
8
Abstract Views
88
PlumX Metrics