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Dark Matter Credit$
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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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Spatial Variety versus Centralization

Spatial Variety versus Centralization

Change in Eighteenth-Century Credit Markets

(p.48) Chapter 2 Spatial Variety versus Centralization
Dark Matter Credit

Philip T. Hoffman

Gilles Postel-Vinay

Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

Princeton University Press

This chapter talks about how in the long buildup to the 1780s, the economy had been growing, along with the population, literacy rates, and inequality. At the same time, the volume of private lending had soared, particularly in cities, and more so in Paris than anywhere else. But lending in 1780 was not simply a city affair, for loans were made throughout France. In fact, in 1780, eighty percent of borrowers still got their loans in communities of fewer than five thousand inhabitants. The volume of new debt was centralized in cities, even though loans themselves were still dispersed across small towns and villages. In short, the credit market was diverse, and it was changing, in ways that affected the types of loan contracts that lenders and borrowers chose and the services that notaries provided.

Keywords:   1780s, economy, private lending, Paris, loans, borrowers, debt, credit market, loan contracts, notaries

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