Published information on the Balance du Commerce source

«France, c. 1716- c.1821» with Loïc Charles, Revue de l’OFCE: Observations et diagnostics économiques, July, n°140, p. 237-248, 2015 

«La collecte du chiffre au xviiie siècle: Le Bureau de la Balance du Commerce et la production de données sur le commerce extérieur de la France», with Loïc Charles,  Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, vol. 58, n°1, p. 128-155, 2011 

The way we treat quantity units (as of February 26th 2018)

The retranscribed variable is « quantity_unit » (1,538 different values).

 Orthographic Normalization

The file « Units_Normalisation_Orthographique.dta » establishes a correspondance between the variable « quantity_unit » and the variable « quantity_unit_ortho » (701 values). 210,000 observations have « livres » in « quantity_unit_ortho » and 160,000 have « unité manquante » (out of 510,000).

Simplification and single-key conversion

The file « Units_Normalisation_Métrique1 » establishes a correspondance between the variable « quantity_unit_ortho » and either
– 1. the variables « quantity_unit_ajustees » (simplifying the « quantity_unit_ortho »), « u_conv » (a metric unit of quantity) and « q_conv » (the number of u_conv in « quantity_unit_ortho »). e.g. « quantity_unit_orth » « douzaine de paires » has « douzaine de paires » as « quantity_unit_ajustees », « pièce » as u_conv and « 24 » as « q_conv ».
– 2. a variable « needs_more_details » which indicate that we cannot know the metric equivalent without using more variables.

Simplification and Multi-key conversion

The file « Units_Normalisation_Métrique2 » establishes a correspondance between :
exportsimports + pays_grouping + direction + marchandises_simplification + quantity_unit_ortho and « quantity_unit_ajustees » (simplifying the « quantity_unit_ortho »), « u_conv » (a metric unit of quantity) and « q_conv » (the number of u_conv in « quantity_unit_ortho »).

Pierre Hollegien, Reinterpreting The Colonial Trade: France, Sugar and Dutch Disease

Pierre Hollegien was an intern in the TOFLIT project from in 2015. He then produced some very interesting work on drug trade.

He then went and did a MSc in the London School of Economics where he produced a research paper on « Reinterpreting The Colonial Trade: France, Sugar and Dutch Disease ».

Here it is:

Hollegien – EH499-Candidate_number_15129

Paul Chevret

We welcome Paul Chevret, who will probably be the last intern of the project.

« Currently achieving my third year in international economics in Dauphine, I have some available time that I have decided to  involve myself in a project that could give me some personal satisfaction and  enhance my curriculum.
The Toflit18 project is compatible and coherent with my studies, but it also compatible with my interest for history and economics.
I hope this will allow me to discover the field of academic research and work alongside  experienced people.  I’m happy and excited to discover what will happen during these months at the laboratory.

He will work two days a week from November 1st till the end of December. He will be in charge of the transcription of data under the supervision of  Guillaume Daudin and Loïc Charles. He will also be solicited by other researchers to complete various tasks (like the meeting reports).

CV-10.09.17 Paul CHEVRET

October 17th 2017 meeting

# October 10th 2017 meeting

Attending : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Pierre Gervais, Paul Girard, Guillaume Plique

# Plique & Gervais
They present their preliminary results. We debate them.

# Matlo
We discuss the first mock-up presented by Matlo. We are not very happy about them, and gather a number of suggestions.
We discuss how to go forward with them.
Paul is spending a lot of time and effort with them.

# New features
– We discuss a way to see the proportion of flows expressed in kg, liters, etc. in the Indicators view. Most people find it too difficult to explain.
– We discuss different sorting rules for the Metadata view : Mean % when present, total %, nbr of flows, nbr of year, alphabetical. Most believe we should implement them and offer the choice of which one to use.
– We should probably exclude from the datascape data before 1710 or after 1824

# Ricardo
A very new version of Ricardo has been published. We discuss the unification of source names.

# Various
– We have issues with exporting the files out of the livedrive
– We are still in discussion with Florence to get her to go and gather new sources
– We are not hearing anything from the SciencesPo library.

# Next meeting
November 14th at the Médialab, 13 Rue de l’Université

Septembre 12th 2017 meeting

# September 12th 2017 meeting

Attending : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Paul Girard, Guillaume Plique

# Matlo
We are finishing the administrative papers.

# Guillaume Plique
Guillaume presented his work on the datascape. E.g. :
– Quantities are integrated in « indicators »
– One can know follow the evolution of the content of a classification (there is a discussion of the usefulness of that feature)
– The glossary has been integrated
– One can now filter networks by daughter classification

We discuss on the priority for the end of Guillaume’s work : permalinks or exports. We decide permalink are more important.


# Archiving
We have not heard from the SciencesPo library since July. We will recontact them.

# Checking retranscription
We are missing 1789 La Rochelle I & X
We are waiting for the Échelles du Levant

# Sources
– Bibliothèque de l’Institut : we already had the data to be found there, but we know have better pictures.
– Narbonne: we have not managed to secure the pictures yet. We will ask Florence if she can do it with INED.
– The data from Elizabeth Cross is interesting, but not easy to integrate in the database.
– We might need to check in Dermigny / Haudrère / Weber for data on trade by the East Indies Company.

# Conference
– We decide on including a one hour « hands on » session with Matlo. It will last an hour.

# Ricardo
The latest version has new data.
Matlo will re-do the homepage and more documentation, allowing downloading of exchange rates and entity database
The Ricardo project will open a Github depository and an « hypothèses » blog.

# Next meetings

10/10 9.30 am
14/11 9.30 am
19/12 5pm closing meeting
19/12 8pm Closing dinner

June 28th 2017 Meeting

Attending : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Pierre Gervais, Paul Girard, Guillaume Plique, Matthias Loise, Maëlle Stricot, Anthony Rebours, Florence Perret

# Pierre Gervais (and Guillaume Plique)’s paper :
P. Gervais’s idea is to check two hypotheses:
– The number of simplified categories is related to the quantity/value exchanged: the more important a product, the more diversifed his depiction.
– The concentration of a product in a specific harbor is in correlation with the level of simplification: the more concentration, the higher the degree of simplification.
To write this paper, Pierre Gervais is going to use the datascape. He wants to verify these hypotheses on a panel of four or five destinations and study the six French harbors with two variables:
The size of the simplification’s group
The exchanged values

# Archiving meeting:
G. Daudin and M. Loise met with Cynthia Pedroja (in charge with the data’s’ management: diffusion, access, exchange) and Olesea Dubois (in charge of the digitalization and long-term archiving, working with the CINES) from Sciences Po’s library met to discuss how to organizing the storage and the availability of the data in June 21st.
SciencesPo’s library has accepted to work with us document the data before storage in their new dataverse. Among the tasks are :
– making a list of the files (Cynthia Pedroja offered to do it)
– make a list of the variables (ML)
– make a graph of the structure of the relational database (ML)
– document the data according to the dataverse requirements (CP)
– document the datascape (ML will do it)
Texte meeting is on July 5th

# Checking the transcription:
Matthias has done a lot already. Maëlle will calculate the price indices and work on the evolution of the terms of trade.

# Next ANR?
Guillaume will go in Poitier on July 10th to discuss an ANR between La Rochelle, Nice and, maybe, Paris. They might be interested discussing research and pedagogical visualizations of navigation and trade 18th century data.
This could be the occasion for the Medialab to hire someone 6-12 month to continue working on the datascape.

# Conference in October:
We had 22 submissions. The scientific committee has been asked to help us make a choice of 11.

# Sources :
– Florence is going to check the documentation on Britanny in the Bibliothèque de l’Institut, we might already have these data.
– She will also check archives in Narbonne and Dax, a table from the National Archives, and a page from Rouen which was missing from the digitalization the archives provided.
– Elizabeth Cross, who wrote a thesis on the East Indies, is going to give us some data.

# Robin
We discuss how Robin could help us with the design latter in the year

# Guillaume Plique
Guillaume, Guillaume and Paul discuss the development of the datascape (see Trello)

# Next meetings :
Paul G., Guillaume P. and Guillaume D.: August 29th, 15:30
General meeting: September 12th or 13th, 9:30

Ellen M. Nye

We welcome the use of the TOFIT18 data by Ellen M. Nye.

She is a first-year history PhD student studying Ottoman and British economic history at Yale University under the supervision of Steve Pincus and Alan Mikhail. She is eager to learn about the broader trends in the French economy TOFLIT18  will expose.

She is going to use the Franco-Ottoman trade from 1785-1821 to work on a paper seminar paper on cotton textile trade and production in the Ottoman market during the Napoleonic wars. For this project, she am comparing trade statistics to indicators of Ottoman cotton textile production. For French trade, she is currently relaying on Alexandre Chabert’s Essai sur les mouvements des prix et des revenus en France de 1798 à 1820, which provides information on the total volume of Franco-Ottoman trade but does not provide information on the trade broken down by commodity or volume. TOFLIT  would provide much more granular information.


Nye CV




Maëlle Stricot

C’est avec plaisir que nous accueillons Maëlle Stricot  qui sera stagiaire pendant un mois dans l’équipe. Elle sera notamment chargée d’effectuer des études d’indices de prix.

« Actuellement étudiante au sein du Cycle Pluridisciplinaire d’Etudes Supérieures, cursus mis en place par le pôle Paris Sciences et Lettres, et m’apprêtant à entrer en troisième année de licence d’économie à l’Université Paris-Dauphine, j’ai intégré le projet TOFLIT18 le 26 juin 2017 dans le cadre d’un stage d’une durée d’un mois.

Avant le début de ce stage, j’ai assisté aux deux jours du colloque portant sur « Turgot : mondialisation, sciences et économie au siècle des Lumières », donné sur le site des Archives Nationales à Pierrefitte, où j’ai pu rencontrer de nombreux chercheurs s’intéressant à l’économiste Turgot et à cette époque. Cette expérience a été très enrichissante, car en plus de pouvoir rencontrer plusieurs chercheurs prestigieux en histoire et en économie, cela m’a aussi permis de voir ce qui constituait l’une des facettes du métier de chercheur.

Ma participation au projet consiste à élaborer une analyse des indices de prix des différentes marchandises échangées au cours du 18ème siècle en m’appuyant sur la base de données existante. Ce travail est intéressant car il va me permettre d’avoir plus de connaissances sur le commerce et l’économie française de l’époque.

Ce stage représente pour moi une opportunité de découvrir en profondeur le monde de la recherche et de voir en quoi consiste exactement le travail de chercheur. Les missions dont je suis en charge sont aussi une occasion d’en apprendre davantage en économie et en statistiques, ce qui me sera sûrement très utile pour mes prochaines années d’études. Je pense que ce stage peut également me permettre d’affiner mon projet professionnel, en découvrant le monde de la recherche et en voyant s’il me correspond. »


Anthony Rebours

We are happy to welcome Anthony Rebours in the team ! He will do retranscriptions.

After graduating a Master Degree in history of economic thought at University Paris 8/Paris 1 La Sorbonne, Anthony is currently involved in research for his Phd thesis on the theme of the development of Krugman’s geographical economics. He also began to teach recent history of economic thought for undergraduate students at University of Tours François-Rabelais this year. As the studies in history of economic thought, including recent history, implies the use of various methodological approaches, Anthony is particularly interested in using quantitative data and archival works in his own researches.




Transformations of the french economy through the lens of international trade, 1716-1821