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Philip T. Hoffman, Gilles Postel-Vinay, and Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182179

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182179.001.0001

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1740 and the Rules of the Game

1740 and the Rules of the Game

(p.10) Chapter 1 1740 and the Rules of the Game
Dark Matter Credit

Philip T. Hoffman

Gilles Postel-Vinay

Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the size of the market in 1740 and explores who was involved in it. The stock of notarial debt, even though it excluded nearly all commercial and consumer credit, amounted to sixteen percent of GDP in 1740. Although that may at first glance seem paltry, especially when compared to the level of mortgage debt accumulated in some economies on the eve of the 2008 crisis, it is more than what mortgage markets achieve in many developing economies today. This mountain of private, nongovernmental debt raises some serious questions. The chapter addresses this issue by asking how to reconstruct past lending in a society, particularly for credit markets that have long been shrouded from view.

Keywords:   1740 market, notarial debt, commercial credit, consumer credit, GDP, developing economies, lending

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