Fiscal Origins of the French Revolution: financial crises, public opinion and institutional change in early Modern Europe, 1688-1789.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Modern Languages and European Studies

Abstract

There is broad consensus amongst historians that it was a fiscal crisis that led to the collapse of the Old Regime, the spark that made the French Revolution of 1789 doable and possible. Yet, the only comprehensive monograph on the relationship between fiscal issues and the breakdown of the Bourbon monarchy is almost a century old. This synthesis, which drew upon nineteenth century scholarship, is chronological and empirical in its approach, narrowly focused on high politics at Versailles and biased by the disputes of the time. Yet it is still regularly cited by historians, and the need for a new fiscal interpretation of the rise and fall of the French monarchy is pressing.

A series of ground-breaking articles and monographs have brought to light substantial new material which fundamentally challenges the ways historians have addressed such key issues as the relationship between institutions and economic performance, taxation and privilege, war and credit, debt and the development of financial market. In addition, fiscal history has benefited from the development of econometric modelling and the applying of the methodology of cultural history to the study of taxation, political economy and institutional reform.

What is missing is a new synthesis that can draw together these disparate strands, and integrate the crucial dimension of fiscal history into the wider debate about the origins of the French Revolution. What is also needed is a transnational agenda that can situate the French fiscal crisis in the wider European struggle for great power status and contribute to a better understanding about how the development of our Modern world is associated with the need to finding solutions

These are the main aims of the research which will result in the following outcomes:
- one scholarly and yet accessible monograph on the Fiscal origins of the French Revolution (under contract with OUP)
- two scholarly articles to be submitted to international peer-reviewed journals
- two international conferences and edition of the proceedings
- one article for a popular history magazine on financial crises, public opinion and institutional change in early-modern Europe
- a series of public lectures on 'Financial crises of the past: how can history help understand the current situation?'
- a virtual exhibition on the development of fiscal transparency in the long eighteenth-century (1688-1815)

Planned Impact

The field and scope of the research proposed is very complex and accessible only to a small group of specialists. The current financial crisis offers a timely opportunity for historical finance to have a real impact in increasing public awareness about the relationship between financial crises and the evolution of economic, social and political systems. The impact activities will aim at disseminating and making relevant and accessible to the general public the scholarly questions, interpretations and findings of the research. For instance, it seems important to recognise that if financial crises can be very damaging to individuals or group of individuals, adequate solutions proposed to solve complex problems and methods for reaching a consensus on very divisive issues can help building a more stable and a fairer society. With these aims, historical finance has the power to influence and shape public policies and contribute to a better understanding of a number of key societal questions. In particular the project can be useful to the general public in showing how much the transition to the Modern World and the ascendancy of Britain relied on the ability of the various polities to provide innovative and sustainable political and fiscal solutions to overcome structural problems.
 
Description The research proposed to examine the relationship between fiscal crises and political change in early-modern Europe by 1. exploring the key features of the French fiscal system and their impact on the fall of the Old Regime, and 2. by setting the research questions within a comparative framework, in particular in contrast to the British institutions, considered as an efficient model conducive to political stability, the development of financial markets and sustained economic growth.
1. Methodology. One key objective of the research was to provide a credible series of budgetary statistics to chart the evolution of French finances and assess areas of continuity and change in the course of the century leading up to the French Revolution. One reason for relying on macro fiscal data was to allow comparisons with the financial experiences of various polities during this period, in particular with Britain seen as the model of fiscal sustainability, but also with the Netherlands and Spain. On the whole, analysis and comparison of the fiscal series has taken far more time that was initially expected, partly because of problems of interpretation of the data, and partly because new fiscal data on Britain, Spain and the Netherlands were made available in the course of the award. Despite the difficulties encountered, the results of this methodology are both satisfactory and substantial. On the one hand, the century-long and comparative approach helped identify the various challenges (social, economic, monetary, political and cultural) that early-modern polities had to address in order to fund extraordinary expenditure in wartime and refund war debts in peacetime. On the other hand, the quantitative approach has been very fruitful in setting out the rationale of French fiscal policies at various moments: by identifying permanent structural constraints as well as significant evolutions, and by analysing the ways in which the government engaged with the public response to its decisions. In this respect, the award helped laying the quantitative foundations which are too often missing in the secondary literature, so as to bridge the gap between a fiscal history of French finances that engages with the technical issues of taxation, credit and control, and the qualitative studies of French fiscal crises which are often biased by partisan interpretations of long-term structural issues and short-term problems.
Among the main findings, the most important are as follows:
- France remained the foremost fiscal power throughout the period, although its capacity to tax national wealth was inferior to Britain's and Holland's. Yet, in volume, France's tax capacity was still greater than any of the other European states. Only a coalition of powers was capable of dwarfing France. In the century leading up to the French Revolution, however, France tax revenue fell in comparison to Britain. This situation reflected the social inequality of the French tax system and the higher per capita revenue in Britain, rather than the alleged differences in the tax to GDP ratio. This general trend was not forgone though. It was reversed in the 1740s: following two decades of tax retrenchment French ministers resolved to increase revenue with new taxes specifically targeting the wealthy and tax hikes hitting the ordinary subjects. Data show a significant tax improvement during the American War but it was not sustained when peace resumed. This situation called for a major new tax effort if France was willing to catch up again with Britain following Pitt the Younger's successful tax reforms.
- In wartime, the French budget did not show a healthy correlation between taxation and expenditure; this was especially true when war broke out. For this reason, war finance was funded with large chunks of short-term loans as well as long-term ones. The imbalance between tax revenue and spending, together with the impact of war on the money stock (exports) and economic activity, generated serious liquidity crises both in wartime (tax shortages) and in peacetime (debts).

- The financial capacity of France decreased between 1688 and 1789, in particular from the mid-1750s onwards when Britain was able to raise more money than France by means of cheaper loans, and became de facto the foremost power in Europe. Yet, here again the trend was reversed during the American War: the differential in the cost of loans was reduced at the expense of Britain. Still, the higher costs of the French loans were a direct threat to budget stability. The high cost of money was the direct result of France's inability to extract tax revenue commensurate to its financial engagements and, as such, to avoid default and debt restructuration (or put in place a credible sinking fund to pay off the war debts). The failure of John Law's scheme to convert the debt into shares of the Compagnie des Indes had considerable long-term impact on the king's credit. After the collapse of his System (1720) the conversion of the French debts into perpetual bonds immobilised one billion worth of assets (5 times annual revenue) which their legal status as real estate made hard to negotiate. As a matter of fact, they never recovered to par. The huge volume and discredit of these bonds meant that the government had neither the possibility nor the will to refund the old debts and was forced to rely on new types of loans in the form of term annuities and life annuities which were heavy on the Treasury: the former were issued at 5%, and even at lower rates in the 1750s, but their short-term maturity imposed hefty annual reimbursement; the latter carried a high interest rate (ca. 9% and over) payable for many years in an age when economic growth was very slow.
- A key objective of the project was to examine the role of fiscal privileges in the fall of the Old Regime in France. While historians agree that the French monarchy tried to tax privileged groups and managed to increase their contribution, the question of the actual amount of taxes they paid as a portion of their wealth, and with comparison to the ordinary taxpayers, has remained uncertain, leaving many questions unanswered when it comes to the interpretations of the French Revolution. Statistical analysis of the evolution and distribution of taxes has showed that the substantial increase in the revenue from indirect taxes was less the consequence of higher rates than of demographic growth and raised levels of consumption in the twenty years prior to the French Revolution. These findings cast doubts about the interpretative validity of the rising level of taxes, in general, and on the poor, in particular. Analyses of the distribution of direct taxes leaves no doubt that the wealthy, and the nobility despite its privileges, bore much of the tax increases in the twenty years prior to the Revolution. Nonetheless, the research has identified new primary sources which provide essential figures about the volumes of taxes that the nobility and the clergy should have paid in an equal fiscal system. We show that the exemptions of the two privileged orders amounted to 18% of the direct taxes collected on the eve of the French Revolution. Known to the ministers, this situation suffices to explain their desire to further increase taxation of the privileged and the latter's resistance.
- The most recent historiographical developments pertaining the development of the fiscal states in early-modern Europe tend to put the emphasis on expenditure (administrative control) rather than revenue (tax and credit). In Europe, the French monarchy was exceptional for its reliance on private financiers to collect taxes and fund spending. The research has paid considerable attention to the question of the financiers, the nature of their services and their costs. Analysis of primary sources has showed that the infamous traitants made substantial profits in their role as intermediaries for the sale of offices, with returns as high as 26% on capital. At the same time, however, affairs were not equally profitable and the government was likely to claw back part of the financiers' juicy profits. In 1701, for instance, finance minister Chamillart imposed a 50% windfall tax on the profits the traitants made during the Nine Years' War (1688-1697). Other documents have also helped estimating the benefits made by the tax farmers who, like Louis XIV's traitants, became the very symbol of Old Regime abuses under Louis XV. Calculations based on accounts obtained by the government show that their profits were even higher in the 18th century, amounting to 8% of the product of indirect taxes, or a 33% return on capital invested.
- Overall the various findings confirm that in the key areas of taxation, credit and control the Old Regime French fiscal system was not as efficient as its British rival. Detailed analysis, however, suggest that it would be wrong to assume that the French weaknesses were not identified, discussed and acted upon. While the fiscal structures of the Bourbon monarchy remained broadly the same throughout the period, the royal administration devoted considerable attention to finding and implementing workable solutions to recurrent and recurring difficulties. The progress was slow, though, and often dictated by emergency situations. The lack of institutional arrangements for sharing knowledge on complex fiscal issues had detrimental impact on the capacity of the regime to generate consensus. Although the public could draw on a wider range of texts which discussed past and present fiscal policies, and which disclosed vital information heretofore unknown to the king's subjects, the opinions remained profoundly divided on the central issue of credit whereas they came to agree on the principles of equality before taxation and accountability of the kings' agents.
- The monograph is currently being finalised and will be submitted to Oxford University Press in September 2019 for publication in 2020.
Exploitation Route 1. The findings have been published in journal articles and special issues of academic journals, in the published proceedings of the workshop and conference I organised. Some of the outcomes are in press and will appear in 2018. They form the backbone of the planned monograph on the fiscal origins of the French Revolution which will be completed this year. Documents discovered in the course of the project will also lead to additional publications in the near future, new research projects and applications for funding, and, if funding is obtained, train at least a Post-Doc in my area of expertise and generate databases.

2. In addition to the findings, the activities associated with the grants (public lectures, digitisation of documents) are accessible to the public via a special website. The website documents three three main topics: The birth of fiscal transparency; Finance and morality, and War and the economy. These themes have a strong European comparative agenda and have brought together experts from across Europe.

3. The research project has also generated new collaborations with academics from several countries on a variety of relevant topics.

4. I have competed the monograph which will be submitted for publication in August 2019. The book provides the first analytical study of French finance before 1789 since the publication by Marcel Marion in 1914.
Sectors Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.reading.ac.uk/fiscal-history/
 
Description 1. I gave a public lecture at the Ministère des Finances (Paris) on Jacques Necker, Louis XVI's last finance minister, and his his policy. Over 100 people attended and left comments. The lecture was widely advertised on the institutional website and a summary published in the internal journal. 2. I shared some of my findings (and the results of a conference which I organised and edited the proceedings as part of the project) with a researcher at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which led to the publication of an IMF working paper on the history of financial transparency. 3. I set-up a website entitled Fiscal History/Historical finance (http://www.reading.ac.uk/fiscal-history/) which can be accessed freely. It has many links to academic outputs, historical documents digitised, public lectures and workshops organised and disseminated as part of the research. 4. In 2017 I have responded to an enquiry from a Secondary School history teacher in relation to A levels topics on the Origins of the French Revolution and pointed at the above mentioned website which was used by student for writing their essays. I have responded to similar queries in 2018. 5. In 2018 I gave a public lecture at the Ministère des Finances (Paris) on Turgot, Louis XVI's finance minister, and his his policy, paying special attention to the ways in which fiscal constraints (taxation, borrowing) favoured economic action to promote growth . Over 100 people attended and left comments. The lecture was widely advertised on the institutional website and a record accessible.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Title Website 
Description As part of my grant application and case for impact I proposed to create a website that would make my research more widely available and also the electronic publication of a set of exceptional fiscal documents about 26 states on the eve of the French Revolution, documents which were unknown and are almost impossible to consult due to their size. The website provides access to some of the outcomes and activities linked to my award. The intention is to carry on developing this website alongside recent or future outcomes. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Prof Lynn Hunt, University of California, has been in contact with me about the discovery of the documents I published on the website, which I had partly analysed and published in a chapter entitled 'Finance' in the Doyle, W. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Old Regime (2013). She informed that she would mention the website in a book she is currently preparing on the French Revolution and Napoleon. 
URL http://www.reading.ac.uk/fiscal-history/
 
Description Conclusion to international conference on 'Mirabeau, Cosmopolitan Culture, Political Economy and Society in 18th century France' 
Organisation Paris 13 University
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I was invited to give the conclusions of major 2-day international conference entitled 'Mirabeau: Culture cosmopolite, économie politique et société au XVIIIe siècle.
Collaborator Contribution Organisation of the conference
Impact N/A
Start Year 2015
 
Description Conclusion to international conference on 'Mirabeau, Cosmopolitan Culture, Political Economy and Society in 18th century France' 
Organisation Paris West University Nanterre La Défense
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I was invited to give the conclusions of major 2-day international conference entitled 'Mirabeau: Culture cosmopolite, économie politique et société au XVIIIe siècle.
Collaborator Contribution Organisation of the conference
Impact N/A
Start Year 2015
 
Description Conclusion to international conference on 'Mirabeau, Cosmopolitan Culture, Political Economy and Society in 18th century France' 
Organisation University Hospitals in Paris
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I was invited to give the conclusions of major 2-day international conference entitled 'Mirabeau: Culture cosmopolite, économie politique et société au XVIIIe siècle.
Collaborator Contribution Organisation of the conference
Impact N/A
Start Year 2015
 
Description Conference organisation 'The War Within: Finance and Morality in Early-Modern Europe, 1648-1815' 
Organisation Blaise Pascal University
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This collaboration was part of an international research conference I co-organised, with Professor Anne Dubet, an expert in the earl modern history of Spanish finances, at the University of Reading, 3-4 December 2015. I planned the event, as well as the narrative, which brought together 12 historians from Canada, the USA, the UK, Spain, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands
Collaborator Contribution The collaboration included the drafting of the call for papers, the selection of speakers and relevant activities pertaining to the organisation of the event. The partner also gave a paper at the conference
Impact We are currently in contact with some of the speakers with a view to edit the proceedings of the conference. Palgrave have shown an interest in the publication. The manuscript will be submitted to the publisher in September 2016.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Groupe de travail 'Marché monétaire et politique monétaire' 
Organisation L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contribution to a workshop
Collaborator Contribution The academics met in Paris in February 2016 to discuss the feasibility and the methodology of a new research project devoted to the history of the monetary market and monetary policy in Europe from the 17th to the 20th century.
Impact Research methodology
Start Year 2015
 
Description Organisation of international workshop on 'The Excesses of the State: Administrative control or political transparency? 17th -19th century Europe' 
Organisation Histoire & Mesure
Country France 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I planned the research theme, launched a call for papers, organised the workshop, introduced the theme of workshop in a paper and gave a paper on the case of France
Collaborator Contribution This was an international workshop with speakers from Spain, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, the US and Italy. Each speaker gave a paper on a variety of aspects relevant to the research theme and relating to historical experience in Spain, The Kingdom of Naples, France, Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Impact The speakers met in April 2014 and the papers will be submitted for publication by December 2014. They will be published in December 2015 ib the peer-assessed historical journal Histoire & Mesure.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Organisation of international workshop on 'The Excesses of the State: Administrative control or political transparency? 17th -19th century Europe' 
Organisation School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS)
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I planned the research theme, launched a call for papers, organised the workshop, introduced the theme of workshop in a paper and gave a paper on the case of France
Collaborator Contribution This was an international workshop with speakers from Spain, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, the US and Italy. Each speaker gave a paper on a variety of aspects relevant to the research theme and relating to historical experience in Spain, The Kingdom of Naples, France, Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Impact The speakers met in April 2014 and the papers will be submitted for publication by December 2014. They will be published in December 2015 ib the peer-assessed historical journal Histoire & Mesure.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Paper to conference on 'La construcion de la Hacienda Hispanica' 
Organisation Blaise Pascal University
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have been invited to contribute a paper to a conference which is part of 3 year research programme funded by the Casa de Velasquez on the Spanish Financial System. The conference of 2014 was devoted to the relationship between early modern states and financiers. This collaboration builds upon previous collaborative work that aims to compare finances in early modern Europe. This paper was an opportunity to use new material and propose a new historiographical approach of the existing academic work on the question of the relationship between the states and the financiers, with particular insights on such issues as the contractual nature of the relationship, the evolution of the financial market and the problem of corruption.
Collaborator Contribution Other speakers made contributions on the Spanish financial system, therefore allowing fruitful comparisons Se also https://www.casadevelazquez.org/es/investigacion/agenda/novedad/la-construccion-de-la-hacienda-hispanica-1/
Impact Two outputs have been submitted and accepted for publication. The first output is published in Spanish in the peer-review academic journal 'Mélanges de la Casa de Velazquez' (2016) and is a critical review of the historiography of 'The Absolute monarchy and its financiers' (see details in portfolio) The second output is published in Spanish in the on-line journal Tiempos Modernos (2015) and explores the role of financiers under Louis XIV, the question of embezzlement and financial profit, and the shortfall tax imposed by finance minister Chamillart in 1700 on the financiers involved in the financing of the Nine Years War (1689-1697). (see details in portfolio) The third output is a French version (slightly different) which appeared in the peer-reviewed French journal the Revue Historique (December 2015)(full details in portfolio)
Start Year 2014
 
Description Paper to conference on 'La construcion de la Hacienda Hispanica' 
Organisation House of Velázquez
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have been invited to contribute a paper to a conference which is part of 3 year research programme funded by the Casa de Velasquez on the Spanish Financial System. The conference of 2014 was devoted to the relationship between early modern states and financiers. This collaboration builds upon previous collaborative work that aims to compare finances in early modern Europe. This paper was an opportunity to use new material and propose a new historiographical approach of the existing academic work on the question of the relationship between the states and the financiers, with particular insights on such issues as the contractual nature of the relationship, the evolution of the financial market and the problem of corruption.
Collaborator Contribution Other speakers made contributions on the Spanish financial system, therefore allowing fruitful comparisons Se also https://www.casadevelazquez.org/es/investigacion/agenda/novedad/la-construccion-de-la-hacienda-hispanica-1/
Impact Two outputs have been submitted and accepted for publication. The first output is published in Spanish in the peer-review academic journal 'Mélanges de la Casa de Velazquez' (2016) and is a critical review of the historiography of 'The Absolute monarchy and its financiers' (see details in portfolio) The second output is published in Spanish in the on-line journal Tiempos Modernos (2015) and explores the role of financiers under Louis XIV, the question of embezzlement and financial profit, and the shortfall tax imposed by finance minister Chamillart in 1700 on the financiers involved in the financing of the Nine Years War (1689-1697). (see details in portfolio) The third output is a French version (slightly different) which appeared in the peer-reviewed French journal the Revue Historique (December 2015)(full details in portfolio)
Start Year 2014
 
Description Paper to conference on 'La construcion de la Hacienda Hispanica' 
Organisation University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have been invited to contribute a paper to a conference which is part of 3 year research programme funded by the Casa de Velasquez on the Spanish Financial System. The conference of 2014 was devoted to the relationship between early modern states and financiers. This collaboration builds upon previous collaborative work that aims to compare finances in early modern Europe. This paper was an opportunity to use new material and propose a new historiographical approach of the existing academic work on the question of the relationship between the states and the financiers, with particular insights on such issues as the contractual nature of the relationship, the evolution of the financial market and the problem of corruption.
Collaborator Contribution Other speakers made contributions on the Spanish financial system, therefore allowing fruitful comparisons Se also https://www.casadevelazquez.org/es/investigacion/agenda/novedad/la-construccion-de-la-hacienda-hispanica-1/
Impact Two outputs have been submitted and accepted for publication. The first output is published in Spanish in the peer-review academic journal 'Mélanges de la Casa de Velazquez' (2016) and is a critical review of the historiography of 'The Absolute monarchy and its financiers' (see details in portfolio) The second output is published in Spanish in the on-line journal Tiempos Modernos (2015) and explores the role of financiers under Louis XIV, the question of embezzlement and financial profit, and the shortfall tax imposed by finance minister Chamillart in 1700 on the financiers involved in the financing of the Nine Years War (1689-1697). (see details in portfolio) The third output is a French version (slightly different) which appeared in the peer-reviewed French journal the Revue Historique (December 2015)(full details in portfolio)
Start Year 2014
 
Description Paper to conference on 'La construcion de la Hacienda Hispanica' 
Organisation University of Navarra
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have been invited to contribute a paper to a conference which is part of 3 year research programme funded by the Casa de Velasquez on the Spanish Financial System. The conference of 2014 was devoted to the relationship between early modern states and financiers. This collaboration builds upon previous collaborative work that aims to compare finances in early modern Europe. This paper was an opportunity to use new material and propose a new historiographical approach of the existing academic work on the question of the relationship between the states and the financiers, with particular insights on such issues as the contractual nature of the relationship, the evolution of the financial market and the problem of corruption.
Collaborator Contribution Other speakers made contributions on the Spanish financial system, therefore allowing fruitful comparisons Se also https://www.casadevelazquez.org/es/investigacion/agenda/novedad/la-construccion-de-la-hacienda-hispanica-1/
Impact Two outputs have been submitted and accepted for publication. The first output is published in Spanish in the peer-review academic journal 'Mélanges de la Casa de Velazquez' (2016) and is a critical review of the historiography of 'The Absolute monarchy and its financiers' (see details in portfolio) The second output is published in Spanish in the on-line journal Tiempos Modernos (2015) and explores the role of financiers under Louis XIV, the question of embezzlement and financial profit, and the shortfall tax imposed by finance minister Chamillart in 1700 on the financiers involved in the financing of the Nine Years War (1689-1697). (see details in portfolio) The third output is a French version (slightly different) which appeared in the peer-reviewed French journal the Revue Historique (December 2015)(full details in portfolio)
Start Year 2014
 
Description Paper to workshop 'The Economic Impact of War, 1648-1815' 
Organisation Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies
Country Netherlands 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I contributed a paper entitled "French monetary policy in the War of the Spanish Succession: the experience of the billets de monnaie/money bills, 1701-1710" to a session 3 on 'The impact of war on monetary instruments and capital markets'
Collaborator Contribution The partners organised a workshop which included 10 speakers from Spain, UK, Mexico, Germany, the USA and the Netherlands. They also submitted a panel proposal to the World Economic History Congress, which was accepted, and contacted academic journals for publication of the proceedings in two special issues of the Financial History Review and Business History Review.
Impact Two outputs arose from this meeting: 1. The organisation of a full panel at the XVIIth World Economic History Congress, Kyoto (August 2015) - see portfolio for details 2. The submission of a paper as part of a special issue of the Financial History Review, which has been accepted in principle and is currently under review (see details in portfolio)
Start Year 2015
 
Description Paper to workshop on << Marché monétaire et politique monétaire >> 2 et 3 octobre 2015 
Organisation L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I gave a paper entitled J. Félix (Université de Reading) : << Crédit et monnaie sous Louis XIV : les manipulations monétaires et l'expérience des billets de monnaie, 1701-1709 >>.
Collaborator Contribution This event marked the end of a series of papers given at the seminar PHARE, in Paris, over a period of two years on the topic of 'Monetary market and monetary policy'. This event was an opportunity for the 25 speakers to summarize their papers and engage in discussions and debates with each other. The event was cross-disciplinary, international and covered a broad chronology, from the 17th century to the most recent developments in monetary markets and policies.
Impact No published output have resulted from this collaboration. However, a meeting with all the speakers has been convened on 18 March 2016 to discuss new plans for collaboration and, possibly, collaborative grant applications
Start Year 2015
 
Description Paper to workshop on << Marché monétaire et politique monétaire >> 2 et 3 octobre 2015 
Organisation Pantheon-Sorbonne University
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I gave a paper entitled J. Félix (Université de Reading) : << Crédit et monnaie sous Louis XIV : les manipulations monétaires et l'expérience des billets de monnaie, 1701-1709 >>.
Collaborator Contribution This event marked the end of a series of papers given at the seminar PHARE, in Paris, over a period of two years on the topic of 'Monetary market and monetary policy'. This event was an opportunity for the 25 speakers to summarize their papers and engage in discussions and debates with each other. The event was cross-disciplinary, international and covered a broad chronology, from the 17th century to the most recent developments in monetary markets and policies.
Impact No published output have resulted from this collaboration. However, a meeting with all the speakers has been convened on 18 March 2016 to discuss new plans for collaboration and, possibly, collaborative grant applications
Start Year 2015
 
Description Paper to workshop on 'Les projets de réforme de l'abbé Castel de Saint-Pierre (1658-1743) : économie, commerce, finances, fiscalité. 
Organisation Caen University
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I contributed a paper on << L'abbé de Saint-Pierre et la réforme des finances au lendemain de la mort de Louis XIV >>, which explored debates about the reform of French finance during the Regency and the influence of the British model. These are crucial aspects of my research and of the book I am wrting on fiscal origins of the French Revolution
Collaborator Contribution This conference is part of a French CNRS research-funded programme that aims to publish on-line the works of the abbé de Saint-Pierre and papers about this major author. The aim of this workshop was to specifically discuss the economic and fiscal work of abbé de Saint-Pierre. I contributed a paper on the fiscal ideas of Saint-Pierre, in particular on his views about credit and the influence that the Financial Revolution in Britain had on his reform projects.
Impact The outcome will be the on-line publication of a volume devoted to the works of Saint-Pierre on economic, fiscal and financial issues. I contributed a substantial text (9,000 words) that will introduce Saint-Pierre financial works within its context and the historiography of French finances and fiscal reform. The volume, which includes contributions/introduction from 5 other expert collaborators, has been submitted and is currently under review.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Paper to workshop on 'Les projets de réforme de l'abbé Castel de Saint-Pierre (1658-1743) : économie, commerce, finances, fiscalité. 
Organisation National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS)
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I contributed a paper on << L'abbé de Saint-Pierre et la réforme des finances au lendemain de la mort de Louis XIV >>, which explored debates about the reform of French finance during the Regency and the influence of the British model. These are crucial aspects of my research and of the book I am wrting on fiscal origins of the French Revolution
Collaborator Contribution This conference is part of a French CNRS research-funded programme that aims to publish on-line the works of the abbé de Saint-Pierre and papers about this major author. The aim of this workshop was to specifically discuss the economic and fiscal work of abbé de Saint-Pierre. I contributed a paper on the fiscal ideas of Saint-Pierre, in particular on his views about credit and the influence that the Financial Revolution in Britain had on his reform projects.
Impact The outcome will be the on-line publication of a volume devoted to the works of Saint-Pierre on economic, fiscal and financial issues. I contributed a substantial text (9,000 words) that will introduce Saint-Pierre financial works within its context and the historiography of French finances and fiscal reform. The volume, which includes contributions/introduction from 5 other expert collaborators, has been submitted and is currently under review.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Paper to workshop on Crises de la dette/Crises of Public Debt 
Organisation Institute for Public Management and Economic Development (IGPDE)
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution My paper entitled 'Debt crises in 18th-century France' was delivered to an on-going series of workshops on the history of state debt and debt crises. I contributed, with two other speakers, to the discussions of a workshop devoted to 'Debt crises and debt restructuring in the long-18th century in Europe (1710-1820): causes, solutions, impact'.
Collaborator Contribution My partner from the University of Toronto focused his paper on the last early-modern debt crisis of 1787-1788.
Impact The main unattended output was the delivery of a similar paper in London at the Institute of Historical Research, Early Modern Europe Seminar, with the same partner from the University of Toronto
Start Year 2015
 
Description Paper to workshop on Crises de la dette/Crises of Public Debt 
Organisation York University Toronto
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My paper entitled 'Debt crises in 18th-century France' was delivered to an on-going series of workshops on the history of state debt and debt crises. I contributed, with two other speakers, to the discussions of a workshop devoted to 'Debt crises and debt restructuring in the long-18th century in Europe (1710-1820): causes, solutions, impact'.
Collaborator Contribution My partner from the University of Toronto focused his paper on the last early-modern debt crisis of 1787-1788.
Impact The main unattended output was the delivery of a similar paper in London at the Institute of Historical Research, Early Modern Europe Seminar, with the same partner from the University of Toronto
Start Year 2015
 
Description Participation to panel, XVIIth World Economic History Congress, Kyoto, 2015 
Organisation World Economic History Congress
Country United States 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution I contributed to a panel entitled the discussion of a pane; entitled 'War and Economy. The consequences of wartime taxation, public debts and expenditure in the late medieval and early modern period'
Collaborator Contribution See url below with the list of partners and the title of their contribution. This panel was extremely well attended, including some of the best experts in the field as part of the audience, and led to a very lively scientific debate.
Impact The outcome of my contribution is a contribution (see list of publication) to a special issue of the Financial History Review which includes 7 of the speakers who were part of the panel. Papers are currently under review.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with a team of experts of French and Spanish to work on a book on a comparative history of French and Spanish 18th century fiscal systems 
Organisation Blaise Pascal University
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am contributing three chapters in the book which are devoted to military expenditure, debt and political actors
Collaborator Contribution The book project builds upon previous collaborative but different activities between the various members of the group, and a conference and meeting held in Clermont-Ferrand where the book project was discussed and the contributors' contributions distributed. All collaborators are in charge of specific chapters in the book, each chapter is co-authored and co-written by a team of two or three team members.
Impact On-going. A meeting of the team is planned in Barcelona for June 2017 to discuss progress
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with a team of experts of French and Spanish to work on a book on a comparative history of French and Spanish 18th century fiscal systems 
Organisation Dr Jose Maria Luis Mora Research Institute
Country Mexico 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I am contributing three chapters in the book which are devoted to military expenditure, debt and political actors
Collaborator Contribution The book project builds upon previous collaborative but different activities between the various members of the group, and a conference and meeting held in Clermont-Ferrand where the book project was discussed and the contributors' contributions distributed. All collaborators are in charge of specific chapters in the book, each chapter is co-authored and co-written by a team of two or three team members.
Impact On-going. A meeting of the team is planned in Barcelona for June 2017 to discuss progress
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with a team of experts of French and Spanish to work on a book on a comparative history of French and Spanish 18th century fiscal systems 
Organisation House of Velázquez
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am contributing three chapters in the book which are devoted to military expenditure, debt and political actors
Collaborator Contribution The book project builds upon previous collaborative but different activities between the various members of the group, and a conference and meeting held in Clermont-Ferrand where the book project was discussed and the contributors' contributions distributed. All collaborators are in charge of specific chapters in the book, each chapter is co-authored and co-written by a team of two or three team members.
Impact On-going. A meeting of the team is planned in Barcelona for June 2017 to discuss progress
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with a team of experts of French and Spanish to work on a book on a comparative history of French and Spanish 18th century fiscal systems 
Organisation Paris Diderot University
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am contributing three chapters in the book which are devoted to military expenditure, debt and political actors
Collaborator Contribution The book project builds upon previous collaborative but different activities between the various members of the group, and a conference and meeting held in Clermont-Ferrand where the book project was discussed and the contributors' contributions distributed. All collaborators are in charge of specific chapters in the book, each chapter is co-authored and co-written by a team of two or three team members.
Impact On-going. A meeting of the team is planned in Barcelona for June 2017 to discuss progress
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with a team of experts of French and Spanish to work on a book on a comparative history of French and Spanish 18th century fiscal systems 
Organisation University Museum of Navarra
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am contributing three chapters in the book which are devoted to military expenditure, debt and political actors
Collaborator Contribution The book project builds upon previous collaborative but different activities between the various members of the group, and a conference and meeting held in Clermont-Ferrand where the book project was discussed and the contributors' contributions distributed. All collaborators are in charge of specific chapters in the book, each chapter is co-authored and co-written by a team of two or three team members.
Impact On-going. A meeting of the team is planned in Barcelona for June 2017 to discuss progress
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with a team of experts of French and Spanish to work on a book on a comparative history of French and Spanish 18th century fiscal systems 
Organisation University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am contributing three chapters in the book which are devoted to military expenditure, debt and political actors
Collaborator Contribution The book project builds upon previous collaborative but different activities between the various members of the group, and a conference and meeting held in Clermont-Ferrand where the book project was discussed and the contributors' contributions distributed. All collaborators are in charge of specific chapters in the book, each chapter is co-authored and co-written by a team of two or three team members.
Impact On-going. A meeting of the team is planned in Barcelona for June 2017 to discuss progress
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with a team of experts of French and Spanish to work on a book on a comparative history of French and Spanish 18th century fiscal systems 
Organisation University of Lille
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am contributing three chapters in the book which are devoted to military expenditure, debt and political actors
Collaborator Contribution The book project builds upon previous collaborative but different activities between the various members of the group, and a conference and meeting held in Clermont-Ferrand where the book project was discussed and the contributors' contributions distributed. All collaborators are in charge of specific chapters in the book, each chapter is co-authored and co-written by a team of two or three team members.
Impact On-going. A meeting of the team is planned in Barcelona for June 2017 to discuss progress
Start Year 2015
 
Description A presentation to the French Ministry of Finances, as part of their HR policy and training of civil servants on topics relating to economic and fiscal policy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 150 civil servants attended a talk on French fiscal policy in 1774 which highlighted the permanency of domestic and international constraints on finance ministers. The talk is recorded https://www.economie.gouv.fr/files/files/directions_services/igpde-seminaires-conferences/audio/IGPDE_Joel_Felix_MH_10-04-2018_site.mp3

It was followed by questions from the audience as well as a correspondence with a magistrate of the Cour des Comptes, the French main auditing agency, who is currently leading historical research on this institution.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.economie.gouv.fr/igpde-seminaires-conferences/midi-histoire-bercy-2018
 
Description Answer to a teacher relating to an A level option on the origins of the French Revolution, in particular interpretation of the fiscal crisis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Discussion further to a request for help from a secondary teacher about the Origins of the French Revolution and fiscal issues. I took the opportunity to point at the website developed as part of my grant, in particular a set of important and as yet unpublished tables which seem especially appropriate to the A level students who have to identify primary sources as part of their coursework
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Attendance to meetings of the Historical Commission of the Banque de France 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This is a recurrent activity as a member of Conseil scientfique de la Mission Historique de la Banque de France. This involves reporting on applications for grants funded by the research committee of the Banque de France and discussing research policy on the history of money, credit and banking.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.banque-france.fr/la-banque-de-france/histoire/recherche-historique
 
Description BBC Radio 4 Programme on Louis XIV 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The purpose was to discuss Louis XIV's policy and legacy. I was one of the several specialists interviewed and was particularly involved in discussing economic and fiscal policy, After this programme I was contacted to participate to another BBC Radio 4 Programme on Louis XVI.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05xgkwb
 
Description Mercredi 24 octobre 2018 : Pourquoi les chambres de justice ont-elles disparu au 18e siècle ? Finances royales et profits financiers de Louis XIV à la Révolution. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The presentation aimed to advertise the recent work i have done on fiscal corruption in early modern Europe. It was delivered at the Post-Graduate seminar of Professor Pierre Serna who is currently the director of the Centre for the Study of the French Revolution at the Université Paris-1 Sorbonne, the main venue for the history of the French Revolution. A session of questions followed the presentation and students also contacted me later to ask questions on my current and past work. The seminar was also an opportunity to discuss the theme of corruption with Prof Serna and another colleague. This is an area of considerable interest which I intend to further develop in the near future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ihrf.univ-paris1.fr/enseignement/seminaires-et-cours/2018-2019-seminaire-doctoral-s1-de-lihr...
 
Description Public Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This public lecture was one of the impact outcomes associated with the award. It was paired with the Stenton lecture, which is the major annual History Public Lecture organised by the Department of History at the University of Reading. The lecture was delivered by Professor Patrick O'Brien (FBA, LSE), Britain's Wars with France, 1793-1815 and their Contribution to the Consolidation of its Industrial Revolution, 17 November 2016. It has been recorded and will be accessible via the website associated to the award.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.reading.ac.uk/fiscal-history/fhahf-events.aspx
 
Description Public conference, Ministère des Finances (Paris) on Jacques Necker: finance minister of Louis XVI. Popularity and power in the Age of Enlightenment 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussions afterwards

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.economie.gouv.fr/igpde-seminaires-conferences/midi-histoire-2015
 
Description Research paper. 'Le traitant malgré lui. Une relecture du livre de Daniel Dessert Argent, pouvoir et société au Grand Siècle (1984)', Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The purpose of this paper was to present the results of my research on financial profit in France under Louis XIV (published in articles in French and Spanish peer-reviewed academic journals, and revisit the conclusion of Daniel Dessert's path-breaking work published in 1984. The aim was to examine the extent to which financiers were investing money lent by the aristocracy, and the aristocracy the main beneficiaries of the French fiscal system. Based on two case studies, my previous research has revisited the ways in which financiers borrowing money on behalf of the king by selling royal offices, examined the problem of corruption and the profits made by the financiers. Based on another case study, this paper suggests that the aristocracy relied sometimes on financiers to monetize a debt they owed on the king. It also helped refine previous calculations and show that return on capital invested in the so-called 'affaires extraordinaires' (sale of royal offices) was 25%.These results have informed other reflections, in particular comparisons on the cost of credit in France and Britain, as well as thoughts about public opinion's criticism of financiers on the eve of the French Revolution.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://enseignements-2016.ehess.fr/2016/ue/1497/
 
Description Research paper. University of Geneva, Centre Paul Bairoch, Geneva History Seminar, 'Long term comparison of the impact of war in Europe between 1688 and WWI 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The aim of this paper was to examine the broad impact of Louis XIV's wars by situating these conflicts within the broader history of European warfare between 1688 and the First World War. The paper examined such issues as casualties rates, costs of war, methods of financing and the role of credit, in particular central banks on monetary policy. This paper has helped better understand and explain key aspects concerning the impact of warfare on social change through study of continuities and innovations in Europe across three centuries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.unige.ch/sciences-societe/dehes/files/9714/8374/4389/geneva_history_seminar_program_2016...
 
Description Université Paris-Est-Créteil 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The purpose of this event was to present and discuss my former publications and current research on fiscal history to a Post-Graduate Research Seminar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://afhe.hypotheses.org/3750
 
Description War and the economy, 1688-1815 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This activity was linked to Prof Patrick O'Brien public lecture. The papers have been recorded and will be made available on the website associated with the award.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://unireadinghistory.com/2016/10/25/stenton-2016/
 
Description Workshop on 18th century Spanish and French finances, June 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was the meeting of a group of French and Spanish historians, of which I am a member, who are working together on a book on 18th century French and Spanish fiscal systems.It was hosted and sponsored by the Casa de Velazquez. The meeting discussed progress made and further work to be completed in 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017