October 20th meeting

October 20th internal meeting

Present : Hugo Bruel, Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dédinger, Jérôme Héricourt, Emmanuelle Lavalée, Ivan Ledezma, Guillaume Plique

1) What can the economists do

Ivan showed us a very interesting document summing up the interpretation program planned in the initial proposal (see the attached documents).
Summing up, here are the suggested directions :
A) French trade & trade theory
1) French specialisation.
2) Sources of international specialisation of trade. Was it classical (techno ?) factor endowments (neoclassical) ? Other
3) Study of political events / natural experiments
4) Competition structure in each port

B) Economic development and structural change
1) Sources of growth
2) Market size and economic development.
3) Dutch disease effect of colonial trade
4) Evolution of specific sectors
4) French economic geography
5) Consumption

C) Financial and balance of payment issues (testing mercantilist ideas?)

There is a discussion about what is feasible and who wants to do what.

Pierre Hollegien and Alexandre are working on B-5
Pierre Gervais seems to be interested in A-4

Hugo Bruel seems willing to work on trade policy and trade treaties

Ivan and Emmanuelle are more interested in A-1 and A-2 (especially comparing the « more-autarkic» situation of the revolution to the one before). Jérôme is more interested in A-1. However, because of the difficulties linked with finding international comparative data, these studies might be done at the level of the French regions, linking it to B-4.

Some general principles are discussed :
– Start with the easy and the concrete
– It is easier to do when one looks at specific sectors or political events
– Jérôme believes natural experiments have a potential

We decide that the next economist-focused Toflit meeting will be on 08/01/15.

2) September 19th meeting in Dublin

Béatrice went to a meeting about an Irish foreign trade statistics project (http://www.duanaire.ie/dbases/trade_ireland) organized by Patrick Walsh.
They were interested in our work (and Ricardo). Their project is interesting, but just beginning. They have nice graphs of fiscal data which structure could inspire us.

They seemed to be quite interested in some longer-term collaboration. We discuss it. The obvious outlet would be an European project. Loïc warns against trying for the creation of a large database : as we have seen with the Sound, the discrepancies are just too large and too difficult to explain. Working on frameworks and classifications might be more realistic.

Someone willing and able to head the project has to be found. Paul believes that the medialab experience (50% of the fundings come from projects) could help and that no more than a year would be necessary to set it up. Anyway, this is post-ANR stuff, so we should probably start working on it in mid-2016.

3) Ricardo discussion
Paul must integrate the last version of the database : the Dublin meeting helped us to progress on the interface. There are speed issues, however, so he must do some code optimization.
The expected release date is before Christmas.
We discuss the release of the full database as plain text files. That would allow to put it in in a data archive with versioning (not CKAN, which does not support it). We must decide on a license.
We are not sure when to do it. Immediately at Christmas? A bit later? After a presentation paper in an open archive? After a peer-reviewed paper? What are the risks of someone stealing our thunder?

Béatrice must take the decision. We will discuss it with Paul-André Rosenthal.

4) Geography
Paul met people from the Larhra. They have developed a software, Sylogie, to work with historical information. We could work with them on geographical information (though their data starts in 1815 and might be better fitted to Ricardo, actually).

Next meetings : November 21st 4pm
December 18th 10 am (Big meeting : we have funding for people coming from outside Paris)
January 8th 10 am (Economists)


task 3



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