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Private Credit Markets in Paris, 1690–1840

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2009

Philip T. Hoffman
Associate Professor of History and Social Science at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 99125.
Gilles Postel-Vinay
Directeur de recherche at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, 94205 Ivry Cedex, France.
Jean-Laurent Rosenthal
Assistant Professor of Economics at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024.


Relying on a large sample of private and public loan contracts taken from Parisian notarial records, this article examines the private borrowers and lenders who participated in the credit market between 1690 and 1840. It explains the important role notaries played in the market, describes the types of loans available to borrowers and lenders, stresses the importance of the life cycle in explaining the recourse to indebtedness, and ends with a discussion of the difficulties lenders had in assessing creditworthiness.

Papers Presented at the Fifty-First Annual Meeting of the Economic History Association
Copyright © The Economic History Association 1992

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