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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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The Brief but Significant Life of an Institutional Innovation

The Brief but Significant Life of an Institutional Innovation

(p.122) Chapter 5 The Brief but Significant Life of an Institutional Innovation
Dark Matter Credit

Philip T. Hoffman

Gilles Postel-Vinay

Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores how notarized letters of exchange (NLE) turn out to have been common in southern France throughout much of the nineteenth century. They were medium-term instruments (only ten percent were issued with a maturity of less than eight months, and less than seventeen percent had a maturity of more than two years), and since most were drawn up in the countryside, they were of smaller value than obligations. The NLE gave farmers and others who were not in commerce access to this sort of debt for the first time, and it is no surprise that it was popular. Yet despite the wide use of the NLE in the south, they virtually disappeared by the end of the century.

Keywords:   notarized letter of exchange, southern France, nineteenth century, obligations, farmers, commerce

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