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  • Seminar,

Arnaud Deseau (UC Louvain)

Published on January 27, 2023 Updated on February 14, 2023
Le 02 February 2023 De 12:15 à 13:15
Complément date


Pôle Tertiaire - Site La Rotonde - 26 avenue Léon Blum - 63000 Clermont-Ferrand
Salle 212

Research Seminar

The Most Important Event? The Long-Run Impact of the Dissolution of the French Monasteries


During the French Revolution, a massive reallocation took place, where all Church properties were confiscated and auctioned. As a result, some areas experienced a radical change in their ownership structure, while in others the pre-revolutionary ownership structure remained virtually unchanged. In this study, I use the auction of monastic properties to trace the economic and social consequences of this massive reallocation. I show that arrondissements with greater reallocation experienced higher levels of industrial and agricultural productivity in the mid-19th century. I trace these increases in productivity to higher investments in steam power, more efficient land use, land tenure and greater land inequality. I also show that the reallocation had a positive effect on the number of economic elites and on the modernization of political preferences, consistent with a rise of the bourgeois class after the Revolution.