Regional Patterns of Economic Development: A Typology of French Departments During the Industrialization

  • Faustine PerrinEmail author
  • Mickaël BenaimEmail author
Part of the Studies in Economic History book series (SEH)


The purpose of this chapter is to describe and explain regional patterns of economic development as revealed by data on about 70 variables for France in the middle of the nineteenth century. The development process occurred at different speed across space. The process turned out to be specific and varied across French counties. The characteristics can be classified in a three-part taxonomy based on counties’ specificities: (1) productive structure, (2) urban-uneducated versus rural-educated structure, and (3) marital structure. Most prosperous counties are characterized by a dynamic industry, gender equality, high education, fertility control within marriage, and low fertility rates. Backward counties are heavily dependent on agriculture and present gender inequalities, a poorly educated population, control of nuptiality, and high fertility rates. The findings resulting from this analysis have implications for our understanding on the origins and consequences of the development process (output growth, human capital accumulation, fertility transition). It contributes to (1) explain the trajectories followed by the French regions, (2) to disentangle the reasons behind the emergence of strengths or the persistence of weaknesses, and (3) to explain the variations in the timing and pace to reaching sustained economic growth.


Economic development Gender Family Fertility Industrialization Nineteenth century France 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic HistoryLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, MIOIRUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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