Archives de catégorie : Meetings

December 19th 2017 meeting

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

# Budget
SciencesPo has an extra 800 € that will be used to hire and additional day from Alexis Jacomy.
We discuss the transfer of money from INED to SciencesPo.

# Aggregation python script
There is now a documentation a documentation on github, but it needs to be completed (

# Datascape
We discuss how the datascape has advanced. Alexis will still work on it and Guillaume and Loïc need to add a bit of documentation / texts.
We will continue this work in January 2018.

# Ricardo
We discuss the new version of Ricardo

That was the last official TOFLIT18 meeting ! Thank you to all who contributed (and will continue contributing…)

November 14th 2017 meeting


Merci à Paul Chevret d’avoir fait la première version !

Attending members:
Loïc Charles, Paul Chevret, Béatrice Dedinger, Guillaume Daudin, Pierre Gervais, Paul Girard.

#About the datascape
Pierre Gervais notices that the glossary is full of mistakes and promises to go and correct some of them at some point in the future.

#About the advancement of the project & Matlo
– We review Matlo’s work. They have done all the views, except classification.
– Many contents and classifications are still required before uploading the datascape.
– They still have 1/2 day work to do, but we will have to go further. We will use for that the 3,600 € left at SciencesPo before the end of the year, probably by hiring directly Alexis (the senior developer).
– Paul Girard: the beta version will open when the datascape is ready.

#Concerning the layout of datascape
– We spend a lot of time discussing the datascape and the final tweaks.
– The general layout is fixed and we do not discuss it.
– Many comments and critical remarks have been made on the subject and the list of issues in Github is growing.

– The « source » and « source_type » files have been merged. The files have been edited and corrected to be easier to use.
– The script generating the database have been corrected.
– Chili and Peru have been aded to the database.
– Ricardo will be presented at Boston by Béatrice

#Next (and last ?) meeting
December 19th 2017.
Remembre to register for the dinner on the same day by sending a mail to me. We will go to «La Boussole».

Report on the closing Toflit conference, October 19th and 20th 2017

Title : International trade and the economy, 1600-1870


2017 Dauphine Toflit Program Final


Loïc Charles (Paris-8 and INED), Tamira Combrink (IISH), Anne Conchon (Paris-1), Guillaume Daudin (Dauphine), Béatrice Dedinger (SciencesPo), Christopher Gad (Sweden), Pierre Gervais (Paris-3), Paul Girard (SciencesPo), Henric Häggqvist (Uppsala), Pierre Hollegien (S&P Global Ratings), Alejandra Irigoin (LSE), Lionel Kesztenbaum (INED and PSE), Paul Maneuvrier-Hervieu (Caen and Rouen), Dominique Margairaz (Paris-I), Martina Miotto (Warwick), Nicholas O’Neill (Chicago), Guillaume Plique (SciencesPo), Zamil Said Abdallah (Paris-8), Timo Tiainen (Jyväskylä), Roger Vicquery (LSE)


October 19th 2017

9.30-10.20 : Roger H Vicquéry. (London School of Economics, UK) « The Currency Union Effect on Trade: Evidence from the Italian Unification and the Franc Germinal Bloc (1848-1876) »


Vicquery – Does a Currency Union Affect Trade

That paper attempts to estimate the effect of monetary integration on international trade, first identified by Rose (2000)’s seminal paper, during the first globalization.  It  exploits as a quasi-experiment the process of the Italian unification, which saw a number of sovereign Italian states to be annexed by the Savoy monarchy between 1858 and 1870.  Indeed, Italian political integration overlapped with two distinct processes of monetary integration. At the national level, the Italian Lira was introduced as the only legal tender starting in 1862.  At the international level, a process of monetary integration around the French Franc Germinal had been ongoing since the Napoleonic conquest of Europe. Belgium and Piedmont both continued using a currency intrinsically equivalent to the French Franc after 1815. When the annexed Italian pre-unitary states adopted the Lira in 1862, they therefore joined at the same time a larger monetary bloc composed by Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland. The bloc was formally acknowledged through the 1865 monetary convention which gave birth to what has been since known as the Latin Monetary Union.

The paper exploits those events within the differences-in-differences framework widely used in the “Rose effect” literature (Micco et al., 2003). In order to do so, it employs newly compiled archival data sources1. In particular, the paper provides for the first time international trade data for Italian regions post-unification. The paper would contribute to both the economics and economic history literature on a number of counts.  First, the Italian unification represents a unique example of an exogenous monetary unification, driven by military events. This means that the paper’s estimate of the Rose effect are not be biased by the endogeneity problem which generally pervades the literature on currency union.  Second, the paper’s estimate would distinguish between the effect of national and international monetary integration.  Finally, the paper  sheds lights on the effects of the Italian unification, and particularly the extension of the Northern tariff to the South, which is often said to have induced permanent damages to the Southern Italian economy (Daniele and Malanima, 2011). While it exists a debate in the literature on whether the extension of the Northern tariff damaged Southern trade (Felice, 2013) the paper not only provides a tentative quantification but also disentangles the tariff effect from the monetary unification one.


10.20-11.10 Alejandra Irigoin (London School of Economics, UK) « UK Standard Error: the problems for economic historians from (mis)taking silver as commodity money, 1718-1830»


Irigoin – Standard error Silver as commodity or money

As shown elsewhere for the case of 1800s China and the US (Irigoin 2009, 2013), silver in the form of the Spanish American peso enjoyed a price in different markets which was relatively independent of its intrinsic value. In other words silver had also a monetary value; this finding goes against economic historians of silver as commodity money. Revisiting an under researched high frequency series of the price of silver bullion and specie in Britain between 1718 and 1831, the paper first: estimates the premium – and its variation- that specie had over bullion in the London market and second, discusses the broad implications of using of silver grains as denominator for price and wages across economies performed with different monetary regimes. Thirdly and more importantly it also qualifies established interpretations about the economic development of the Atlantic economy during the Napoleonic Wars. The estimate shows that in the course of the 18th century the silver peso had a sizable premium over the mint price in Britain, and of around 20% in Asia. During the Restriction Period (1797-1821) the premium was extraordinarily high –higher even than that of gold bullion – nearing 30% in London market between 1808 and 1816. Whereas the causes of such appreciation in Britain have not been fully researched yet, the use of the silver peso/ dollar in the international economy – and the prevalence of different exchange rates in Asia, Britain and Latin America gave way to a substantial currency trade – yet to be analysed more systematically. In this light the paper explores the implications of such overvaluation of the silver peso exchange rate for the terms of trade of South American economies. and the particular growth of the exports to, and imports from, Britain which economic historians this far have explained solely on political grounds as the effects of (a misconstrued) free trade policies. The paper explores the effects in the expansion of commodity exports out of South America and of the boom of British textile exports to Brazil, Chile, the River Plate and Cuba in the period.


11.30-12.20 Martina Miotto (Warwick ,UK) « World Trade, Technology Diffusion and the Chronometer » (co-authors: A. Iaria and L. Pascali)


Miotto – World Trade, the Chronometer and Technology Diffusion

For centuries seafaring explorers and merchants struggled with the problem of measuring a ship’s longitude. The invention of the chronometer solved such problem opening a new era for the shipping industry. How did a mechanical time keeper improve navigation? What was the role of this innovation in triggering the nineteenth century trade boom? We isolate a causality channel exploiting the fact that the chronometer produced an asymmetric change in trade distances among countries. Before this invention longitude was determined observing the moon and the stars, but this method was impracticable with overcast skies. Using actual voyages data from the eighteenth and nineteenth century we find that, after 1835, ships speed and number of voyages passing through more cloudy routes increased compared to the previous period and to non cloudy routes, indicating that the mechanical time-keeper reduced shipping distances and times differently across countries and trade routes. Using this source of variation and new data on trade and shipping times for the period 1784-1856, we estimate a gravity model of country-pairs trade on travel times letting travel times coefficients change over time, and we assess that trade patterns are shaped by shipping times using lunar observations only till the 1830s, and by shipping times using the chronometer thereafter. Future developments of the project entails understanding the role of trade in the diffusion of new technologies and ideas.

Timo Tiainen (Jyväskylä, Finland) « Long-distance international trade from or to ports of Finland 1634–1853-some time-series analyses with French trade anatomized »


Tiainen – Long distance international trade from and to ports of Finland 1634-1853

This paper provides time-series analyses of different variables of Finnish long-distance international trade covering time period of 1634-1853. The Sound Toll Registers give a great opportunity to have a full sample of all passages and cargoes from and to ports in Finland. They showed clear evidence of developments of both Finnish merchant shipping industry and international trade reflecting the overall underlying economic growth of Finland in this period. The growths in many variables can be regarded as segmented (trend-stationary) processes by estimating general linear segmented models with some break dates by ordinary and autoregressive least squares.  The effects of breaks were predictable: 1) some negative effects of the Swedish Navigation Act of 1724, 2) the positive effects of 1765 after when more staple town rights were gradually given to new towns, and 3) accelerating trend growth after the Napoleonic Wars like economic theory suggests. Segmented trend models estimated asserted some evidence in some cases that shocks have been typically transitory except at small number of break points where the trends were shifted permanently.


14.50-15.40 Torsten Arnold (Viadrina, Germany) «Trade between the French and Portuguese Atlantic and Central Europe: A comparison of the bilateral socio-economic relations between Hamburg, France and Portugal during the last decades of the 18th century ». Co-author: Maria Cristina Moreira (Minho Portugal)


dos Santos Arnold — Trade between the French and Portugese Atlantic and Central Europe (late 18th century)

Europe within these commercial structures during the early modern period have been subject to quite an extensive historiographical production of macro and micro perspectives. However, most of the studies are rather situated within a ‘national’ English, French, Portuguese or Spanish framework than being of a comparative nature. This paper will analise the socio-economic relations between the French and Portuguese Atlantic and Hamburg, the latter being one of the major hubs for the Central European hinterland regions during the last decades of the 18th century. Based on statistical data from the French Chambre du Commerce and the Portuguese Junta do Comércio on the one hand and the Hamburg Admiralty Customs Records (Admiralitätszoll), this paper will demonstrate the historical development of the French and Portuguese sugar and cotton trade with Central Europe, one of the major consumer markets for colonial produce at that time.


16.00-17.30 Loïc Charles and Paul Girard, TOFLIT18 demo and hands-on session


Charles and Girard – Intro to hands-on session

Loïc Charles and Paul Girard showcased  the TOFLIT18  “datascape” thanks to a hands-on session. New techniques developed in digital humanities allow researchers to widen their understanding of international trade through both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The hands-on session allowed participants to use web tools to explore the large TOFLIT18 database of French trade flows between 1714 and 1821 by product and partners to gain new insights on issues such as the economic life and representations of eighteenth-century French consumers, producers and administrators and how they were transformed throughout the century.

Octobre 20th


9.30-10.20 Henric Häggqvist (Uppsala, Sweden) «Taxed to Stagnation? Tariffs and Export Performance in Sweden and Denmark 1783–1853»

Häggqvist – Taxed to Stagnation? Danish and Swedish Export and Tariffs 1780-1860


Tariffs on exports were a key component of mercantilist trade policies around Europe before industrialization. This paper sets out to measure their intensity as well as assess whether they had any direct impact on export growth. It does so by analyzing Denmark and Sweden between 1780 and 1860 which both covers the main period of existence of export tariffs as well as the kick-off of the “first era of globalization.”

The 1830s signaled changes to trade policy and the development of foreign trade in both Denmark and Sweden. Obstacles to trade were slowly being dismantled and both import and export grew as a result, particularly so from the 1840s. Duties on exports were lowered or even removed during the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s in both countries and real export growth started to pick up from roughly the same time. The paper shows that the decrease of export tariffs correlated with a growth in exports, although it did not impact all commodities equally.

The paper concludes that export tariffs were a retarding factor on foreign trade in pre-industrial Scandinavia, and possibly even retarding economic growth. The decrease and eventual removal of export taxes was by all accounts a trade-promoting move, even though it needs to be set against the possible impact of other factors such as the British liberalization of its import tariffs during the same period.


10.20-11.10 Béatrice Dedinger and Paul Girard (SciencesPo) « About the Ricardo Database)


Dedinger and Girard – RICARDO

The RICardo project was initiated in 2004 at Sciences Po by a team of economic historians in order to create a historical trade database. It started from the observation that existing databases are usually built by individual researchers for the purpose of personal research, that these databases do not cover all countries of the world, that they do not go back before 1870 and that they can only be used by skilled communities. Ten years later, a new team involving historians, developers and designers from Sciences Po expands the project to create a website dedicated to bilateral trade flows of all the world’s countries between 1800 and 1938. Since the end of World War II, these statistics are collected and published by international organizations: Direction of Trade Statistics from the IMF (data from 1947) ; UN Comtrade (data from 1962)
The goal of the RICardo project is to collect bilateral trade data of all countries in the world from the early nineteenth century (first data go back to 1787) until 1938 and make them available to a large audience for a wide range of uses. RICardo visualizations allow to show in « one-click » what were the Indian exports to France in 1841, how the total trade of China evolved between 1864 and 1913, or to have an estimate of world exports between 1800 and 1938. It facilitates access to a historical and synthetic vision of international trade while offering researchers the opportunity to use the data for further research. RICardo is an evolving database. Our ambition is to keep improving and completing it through further collection of new trade statistics sources. Users of the database are therefore welcome to send their comments and contribute to its development.

11.30-12.20 Pierre Gervais and Guillaume Plique (Paris 3 & SciencesPo, France) Specialization, nomenclatures, and market power

Gervais Plique – Specialization, nomenclatures, and market power

For the first time ever, the database built by ANR TOFLIT enables one to track the nomenclatures used by public agents in their daily work controlling trade inflows and outflows. While not a perfect mirror of actual practices, these nomenclatures must have reflected to a certain extent the composition of trade flows in the main ports of entry and exit in and out of the French market. However, we argue here that making the jump from customs records to physical exchanges is possible only if a preliminary question is answered first: what connection if any existed between the structure of the nomenclature and of trade flows in one place? Trade theory posits that specialization is inversely correlated with the number of products traded in any one place, and such a conclusion seems self-evident. Eighteenth-century nomenclatures, however, operated in an environment in which there was little standardization of products, but rather a wide universe of product subsets and varieties, associated with highly complex scales of quality and prices. The hypothesis here is that specialization in one product would actually translate into the availability of a wider range of qualifiers corresponding to a wider range of varieties and qualities; in other words, specialization in such a universe would generate larger, not narrower, nomenclatures on any one product. Of course specialization would also lead to a smaller number of product categories, pushing nomenclatures in the opposite direction, towards simplification. The first goal of the paper will thus be to test empirically the relationship between specialization in wider product categories and complexification of the nomenclatures used to describe these categories, and to build at least a provisional view of the possible interaction between the two, so as to know where in the process of aggregation one can reasonably draw the line between products. If indeed more specialization means more complex nomenclatures, one could end up misreading a complexified nomenclature for a product, say cotton cloth in a variety of more qualitative names, as pointing to less specialization than on another market where cotton cloth is described under one name, even though this limited nomenclature actually translates less specialization in that product, not more. Testing a robust process whereby products can be clustered and compared thus becomes essential; and this raises the question of the relationship between local and national nomenclatures —are national categories built precisely for comparative purposes? Can we rely on them, especially to test for segmentation and specialization? The analysis of nomenclatures thus appears as a preliminary for any exploration of the twin questions of market specialization and market overlap.


14.00-14.50 Ulrich Pfister (Münster, Germany) « Foreign trade and the development of the German cotton industry, c.1730-1790 »


Pfister – Foreign trade and the development of the German cotton industry, c.1730-1790

From the 1730s to about 1780 documented imports of cotton goods through Hamburg, Germany’s most important harbour, fell massively, whereas imports of raw cotton and dyestuffs increased. This suggests a pattern of import-substituting industrialization, as it took place in other parts of Europe around that time. Information derived from import statistics and ledgers of inland markets suggest that cotton processing expanded at an annual growth rate of 1.0 per cent, much slower than in Britain and France. According to English and Dutch export statistics German imports of dyestuffs and materials used in calico printing seem to have risen somewhat faster, though. This suggests that calico printing acted as an engine of growth for the entire cotton sector. Despite slow growth cotton manufacture expanded faster than the traditional textile branches, that is, linen and worsted production (around 0.7 per cent). Slow growth of domestic demand and a modest level of market integration appear as the main candidates to account for the relatively unspectacular performance of the German cotton sector in the 18th century compared to Britain and France.


14.50-15.40 Christopher Gad (Stockholm, Sweden) «Sweden Globalization and Stagnation? Analysis of a New Database on Foreign Trade in Sweden and Finland, 1738-1805». Co-author: Rodney Edvisson (Stokholm, Sweden)


Gad – Assessing Trade in the Mercantilist Era 

This paper examines a newly constructed database on foreign trade of Sweden-Finland 1738-1805, consisting of more than 1000 types of goods. The traditional view as presented by Eli Heckscher is that the overseas trade of Sweden-Finland saw a trend of secular stagnation during the course of the eighteenth century. By contrast, we show that in conjunction with a substantial expansion of the population, total trade nearly increased twofold during the period of study. Despite that, there was a decrease of the value of exports in relation to GDP, mostly explained by a drop in the relative price of bar iron. The degree of specialization of Swedish exports saw a declining tendency in this period. While exports from Sweden had a higher degree of specialization than Finnish exports, imported goods to Finland were more concentrated than Swedish imports. Lastly, the composition of imports did not markedly alter, meaning that a consumer revolution did not take place in either Sweden or Finland.


16.00-16.50 Guillaume Daudin (Dauphine, France) « The Futility of Mercantilist Wars ». Co-author: Elisa Tirindelli

Daudin – The futility of mercantilist wars

This paper analysis the long-run effect of war on French trade from 1716 to 1824. It starts by analyzing the specific case of trade between France and Hamburg and then compare it to the general case of all other France trading partners. In addition it breaks trade down by product and looks at the difference in impact on colonial and non-colonial goods. It finds a striking difference according to the different goods, with some European merchandises even benefiting from the war. Finally I check for the presence of lagged effects of and prewar effects. I find no clear evidence of either of them but to some extent, we can observe an increase in trade after the conflict rather than a sluggish reprise (apart from the post 1815 period). All in all, French trade seem to have been rather resilient to its rough handling by the Royal Navy before 1807.





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

June 1st 2017 Toflit meeting

Attending : Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Pierre Gervais, Paul Girard, Matthias Loise, Tristan Majou

Guillaume Plique

Guillaume was supposed to start working again for us on June 12th. An unexpected new procedure at the ANR means we need the greenlight of a committee that meets on June 16th.
His status at SciencesPo might change. If he gets a CDI, we will not be able to pay him anymore.

In his last batch of work, he did many «invisible things» with the datascape. He would like to move to more analytic tasks. We plan having him work on a research paper with Pierre Gervais.
We will ask Robin to give him a hand for the design/development.
On the other hand, we decide that making the datascape easier to use and more accessible cannot be the priority for the time being.

His new work schedule will be :
– From June 26th to July 9th (2 weeks) to finish the three trello cards that were initially planned in April.
– From August 28th to September 22nd : integrate Robin’s suggestions, the documentation, make the datascape public and maybe add new features. This will have to start with a brainstorming session to decide exactly what we want.

This will leave us with one week of salary : we must think about what we should do with it.

Matthias Loise and Florence Perret

We are very happy to have them back ! They will check the retranscriptions (both in a paleographic and automatic way), complete the term database, take pictures of the few remaining archives, etc.


A great part of the meeting is devoted to Ricardo issues

Next meeting

June 28th at 14.00 at the Medialab

April 20th 2017 Toflit meeting

April 20th 2017 Toflit meeting

Attending : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Paul Girard, Guillaume Plique, Elisa Tirindelli

1. Long-term conservation of the data
At the begining of the project, Adonis had offered to insure the long-term conservation of the data for 20 000 €. We decide to recontact them, or their successor organisation.

After a discussion with the CINES, it appears that everything will have to go through the Bibliothèque de SciencesPo.

The Bibliothèque de SciencesPo seems not to believe that the long-term storage of the data is warranted. They advise us to document it well and do multiple non-exclusive self-made saving dumps.

Loïc is going to contact David Schon on this subject as his project might be interested in helping us.

2. Budget
We discuss about the way to use the remaining Dauphine budget.

We decide to use it for the October meeting, additional retranscriptions (of the Levant trade and transport costs in the Montyon archives), IT material, and hiring of research assistants (not interns) to check the retranscriptions (both in a paleographic and automatic way), complete the term database, take pictures of the few remaining archives, etc.

3. We discuss how to check the retranscriptions in an efficient way.
It is difficult to do without a second, non-automatic look before an algorithmic one.
4. Next meeting
On June 1st, 9.30 at the medialab.

March 8th 2017 Toflit meeting


Attending : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Paul Girard, Silvia Marzagalli, Guillaume Plique
1. Workshop Ricardo
We discuss the organisation of the Ricardo workshop in May. Guillaume and Paul suggest the use of gosoapbox and lots of post-its.
2. Simplification of goods / Integration of new data
We did not make progress

3. Price mistakes
Matthias has finished correcting price mistakes

4. Guillaume Plique planning
We confirm we have 16 weeks of funding. 2 have been used up. There are 2.5 weeks of holidays.
Next weeks :
April 10th, 17th and 24th. (3 weeks)
May 1st (1 week)
From Wednesday June 28th to Thursday July 13th (3.5 weeks)
Monday Septembre 4th to Friday September 29th (4 weeks)

Paul and Loïc discuss the organization of the fund transfer.

5. Octobre 2017 conference
We finalize the call for papers

Next meeting : April 20th at 9.30 at the Medialab meeting room 13, rue de l’Université in Sciences Po.

Call for papers : «International trade and the economy, 1600-1870» Paris (Université Paris-Dauphine), October 19th-20th 2017

Call for papers : «International trade and the economy, 1600-1870»

Paris (Université Paris-Dauphine), October 19th-20th 2017

External trade flows are the single macroeconomic data that early modern states have collected with the most care. The first attempts at measuring foreign trade can be dated from the early seventeenth century. Later on, several Italian states, such as the Republics of Genoa and Venice, began to systematically collect customs data to create balances of trade. England and Ireland followed and, from 1696 on, they collected a continuous series of data flows and released a yearly evaluation of the English balance of trade. Several of the continental states, such as France, followed suit, and by the end of the eighteenth-century most of them produced more or less comprehensive balances of trade. A number of recent scientific events and publications have discussed the availability of these trade data (two conferences in Lille in 2011 and in Paris in 2014)[1]. Last year, we organized a conference in Paris that explored the issue of classifying trade data in order to make them useful for economic analysis (Paris 2016). Our aim in this new conference is to take stock of these methodological and data-related efforts to provide a fresh view of the contribution of international trade to the growth and development of national economies before and at the time of the first Industrial Revolution.

Below are some suggestions for possible contributions:
– The ongoing debate among economists and historians shows there is no agreement on the direct causes as to why Britain was the first industrial nation and why other countries lagged behind. However, it must be noted that in recent years economic historians coming from different methodological backgrounds put renewed emphasis on the importance of international trade for the Industrial Revolution (Robert Allen, Maxine Berg, Kenneth Pomeranz among others). Put in a larger perspective, the impact of late twentieth-century globalization on development has forced us to rethink the relationship of international trade and industrialization.
– A complementary perspective is the analysis of international trade data for understanding the workings and transformations of early modern European economies. Goods that were traded and circulated at the international level occupied a special place. External trade provided European consumers with new goods (sugar, coffee, tea, Asian manufactures, etc.) and producers with new inputs (indigo, cotton, etc.). At the same time, it allowed regional specialization both in agricultural and industrial production by connecting these overseas markets to European regions that furnished non-local supplies such as meat, textiles, grains or wine. Actually, as a whole, data on external trade give fundamental insights into the material culture of Early Modern Europe and its transformations in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
– We will also welcome quantitative studies of policy changes and their effects such as, in the French case, the liberalization of the grain trade in 1774 under Turgot, the Eden trade treaty of 1786 and other trade agreements of the 1780s, the first unified tariff of 1791 that did away will most prohibitions and reduced industrial tariffs to 5-15%, the movement toward autarky after 1793, including the Continental System and the short free-trade period of 1814-1816. Comparable changes took place in most European economies.

This conference is financed by the TOFLIT18 project ( funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR). It will take place on the 19th and the 20th of October in Paris in Dauphine. Limited funds are available for travel and accommodation of presenters and discussants; priority will be given to early-career researchers and researchers coming from emerging countries.

If you to participate, send 500-word abstracts including affiliation details before June 1st 2017 to either or
If you want to apply for funding, please provide as well a preliminary budget and a one page CV.

Scientific Committee
Loïc Charles, Paul Cheney, Anne Conchon, Guillaume Daudin, Paul Girard, Ragnhild Hutchison, Aidan Kane, Lionel Kesztenbaum, Silvia Marzagalli, Kevin O’Rourke, Werner Scheltjens, Jan Willem Veluwenkamp

Organizing Committee
Loïc Charles and Guillaume Daudin
[1] Loïc Charles et Guillaume Daudin, éd., « Eighteenth Century International Trade Statistics: Sources and Methods », Revue de l’OFCE (Special Issue), no 140 (2015): 7‑377.

February 3rd 2017 meeting

Attending : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Matthias Loise, Florence Perret, Guillaume Plique

1. Paul Girard & Sciences Po
Paul is discussing his status with SciencesPo.

2. Guillaume Plique’s planning
We have six confirmed weeks of work :
February 6th and 13th (2)
April 10th, 17th and 24th (3)
May 1st (1)
We have funded 16 weeks of work. We need to plan for the other 10 weeks ? 4 weeks in May, 4 weeks in June and 2 in July seems a bit extreme.

3. Simplification of goods
The works has been completed. Pierre Gervais is going to proofread Florence’s work on the datascape.
Pierre suggested to go further into the simplification, gathering all kinds of ‘agaric’ for instance. The group decides to stick with the original idea and not loose any information at the simplification stage.
During further discussion, it is decided that Pierre will not spend three weeks making sure that all simplification rules have been perfectly applied.

4. Looking for mistakes in the data
Matthias Loise has made a linear regression on the prices using product names, metric measurements unite and year. This way, he could forecast the prices and treat those which are too different from their predicted values. The rate of mistakes is still high. With the residual between 2,5 et 3, there is 60% of « true wrong prices », 20% of « actually right prices » and 20% of doubtful cases. The share of true wrong prices is higher in local data (70%) than in the national data (55%).
As for now he could only work on metric measurements but it could be interesting to work on other units although it’s going to be hard to make comparisons (as those units are not standardized especially those emanating from the colonies).

5. Data: Assistance Publique & Marseille
Loïc Charles will look for new data mentioned to us by François Velde at the Assistance Publique (fond Montyon) during the following week. For now, he has been working on Marseille’s sources.
He basically found many small things, but no missing year.
– Imports per product in Levant’s échelles from 1725 to the mid 1770s (and some exports)
– Some colonial import and export trade statistics giving the destinations.
– Some documents coming from the beginning of the second bureau
– A list of freight costs at the bilateral port level

4. European funding
Loïc Charles met with Lucyna Derkacz/Gomez-Echeverri in charge of European projects at Paris 8. She was enthusiastic about Toflit18 and summed up the criteria to apply for a European funding. It appears that two programs could be interesting for Toflit:
– SSHS program. This depends of the work program and whether we fit in what they are interested.
– FET future & FET exchange programs (
Those are relatively low budget programs which were created to finance interdisciplinary projects including new technologies and private companies, criteria which matches with Toflit. New adjudications are going to be made for 2017-2018.
Loïc Charles thinks that, first, we could duplicate the way we created the database to obtain similar practices, and then build a translation’s procedure and a multilateral database. In this way, we would be able to map not only one country but many simultaneous European perspectives. We could also match our data with maritime data (Sound Toll Registers & Navigocorpus but it would be a lot of work.
Guillaume’s contacts in Dauphine had been more interested in the Infrastructure program.
Guillaume and Loïc decide to each write a 1-paragraph defense of each option and send it around to the list to see who is interested in what.
Another option would be to create an ANR with European partners.

5. We discuss the scientific committee of the 2017 conference

January 5th 2017 meeting

Thank you to Florence for the first version of this report!


Attending : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Pierre Gervais, Paul Girard, Matthias Loise, Florence Perret, Guillaume Plique
1. Planning Guillaume Plique
He is one month late of the preceeding project. And starting in February he is starting on Wasmer’s project (with a workshop at the end of March).
In total we have nearly 4 month (10 700 € from SciencesPo and 13 000 € from INED) Planning:
– First 2 weeks of February
– One or two weeks in March
And the rest ?

2. Paul Girard & SciencesPo

3. Looking for mistakes in the data
Matthias Loïs has been looking for mistakes in the data
a. By looking at trade flows over 25 million l.t. A number of typos.
b. By comparing retranscribed trade flows and predicted (by a repeated sales model) trade flows. Only national trade for the time being. A lot of too-small trade flows that are not very interesting to correct.
c. Will be looking at the difference between retranscribed prices and predicted prices (by a repeated sales model). Many mistakes in Marseille
It is often because they forget to divide by 100 or they mix « sous » and « livres ».

4. Data
Marseilles’s data are a pain to check and integrate in the database. Loïc is doing it on his own and is spending a lot of time on each document.

This is blocking the integration of Dardel’s Rouen.

We decide to put Moyons at the Assistance Publique on the top of the pile.

5. Simplification of goods and measure units
Matthias has treated the measure units with three successive files.
The work on Merchandise Simplification has started again thanks to Florence. Pierre is going to participate and aims at finishing at the end of February or March.

6. 2017 Conference
Pierre makes two proposals.
– Use Chaurand and Gradis and check if their data is compatible with ours
– Study the link between the complexity of classifications and specialization between ports. Start with wine ?

7. Next meetings
03/02-9:30 : medialab
08/03-9:30 : medialab
21/04-9:30 : medialab
01/06-9:30 : medialab

December 9th 2016 meeting

December 9th 2016 meeting

Attending : Sid Ahmed Benabderrahmane, Julien Brault, Loïc Charles, Bruno Chavez, Guillaume Daudin, Ivan Ledezma, Matthias Loise, Nada Mimouni, Florence Perret, Guillaume Plique, Timothy Yeung
Five members of the group « Governance Analytics » (( were attending to discuss possible collaboration
. Post-doc en informatique. Governance analytics. Technologie du web sémantique pour présenter les textes juridiques français. / Bruno Chavez sur Governance Analytics. Immergé à Dauphine, mettre en commun en informatique, traitement des statistiques et économétrie pour appuyer des recherches originales pour PSL. Projet porté deux prof à Dauphine. / Julien Pro post-doc d’économie en histoire analytique / Fiio / Timoty économiste / Ledezma prof à Dijon économiste du commerce / Guillaume Plique.

# Datascape
Paul told us that he solved the bug linked to multiple-criteria request in the « Term Network». It has not been put in production yet.

# Guillaume Plique
Guillaume will be able to work with us between two and three months starting mid-January.
He will probably work part-time, meaning he will be with us till at least mid-May and maybe till mid-July.
# WEHC 2018
The session including hands-on utilisation of the datascape has been rejected. Maybe we will organise a one without the hands-on session, but including Alain Bresson and David Schloen.
We were encouraged to re-submit the other session. We have to re-write the introduction
Re-rédiger l’autre. Réécrire le blurp. Et qui mettre dedans exactement.
## Governance analytics
We have a long discussion about possible collaboration between the Governance Analytics team and TOFLIT18.

Toflit18 has a pressing need for design and development capacities. We have the skill for the data analysis.

It has been very interesting to learn about all the things that are done by Governance Analytics. It is a bit more difficult to see the possible complementarities.

We discuss the ontology of goods following Nada Mimouni’s work. That would be especially useful if we were to work on a multilingual database.

We also discuss temporal graphs with Sid Ahmed Benabderrahmane. This is interesting for some other projects of the Medialab.

Julien Brault is also working on 18th century economic history, as he is looking at the activities of the Conseil du Commerce. The thematic link with Toflit18 is easy to make.

The call for project will take place every six months.

## Future fundings
The only thing we really need future funding for is hosting and archiving.

An ERC funding seems out of reach. Maybe an «infrastructure» project (European Research Infrastructures ? ? Or a cooperative ANR project ?

## 2017 Conference
We will have the final two-day conference of the project next Fall (October ? November ?). Our plan is to organise a scientific committee and an open call with the theme «International trade and the economy, 1600-1870».
It will be followed by a half day closed workshop to discuss further developments.

The conference will be focused on
1. The use of international trade statistics to study economies for which few primary economic series are available.
2. The study of early international trade mechanisms

We look forward to have interpretative papers using Toflit18 data presented by the team. As the database is now in a very advanced stage (but not complete), we will endeavour to help those who have an idea for a paper and want to explore its feasibility by organising a workshop in late winter or early spring to discuss their ideas and provide guidance in the use of the database.

Ivan, Guillaume and Loïc discuss what they can do at this occasion.
This is your last occasion to benefit from the collective means (and minds) of the project. We sincerely hope that you will welcome this research opportunity.

November 2nd 2016 meeting

Meeting Toflit18 – 11/02/2016

Attending : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Paul Girard, Florence Perret

1- Feedback on Chicago’s workshop

The workshop went really well, the project made a very positive impression on the audience.

Paul Girard really appreciated his discussion with Professor James Evans, from the Computational Social Science workshop. He latter contacted him about methodological issues such as the measurements of graph’s spatialization’s quality.

Meeting Yves Gingras and John Padgett was a boon to all of us.

Loïc Charles met with David Schloen from the Ochre meta-project (, which enables the creation of query software with data emanating from ancient texts, tablets and various goods. In order to question the database more efficiently, and also due to the fact that ancient languages do not isolate each words, each letter is an observation in the database. David Schloen thought that Toflit18 and Ochre have similar methodological principles as they were both created in order to fit many types of research and create a space where researchers could compare their data and results with each others with as much flexibility as possible.

David Schloen also work with Alain Bresson, who focuses on the circulation of currencies throughout the Ancient Greek world. They will organize together a conference at the Paris branch of the University of Chicago in 2018. They want to do two conferences back to back : one on ancient history and another one, methodological, on the use of innovative databases in history. The latter one will include projects that deal with data acquisition integration, analysis, publication and archiving. He offered to give a spot to TOFLIT18 in that conference (paying all costs), along with other pre-statistic era data-related projects (Ochre, Alain Bresson’s, John Padgett’s and Toflit18).

2- Boston

Paul Girard also went to Boston and met with members of the MIT medialab and the Harvard metalab at Berckman Center. He insisted on the similarity of their methodological issues with those of Toflit18. He remarked on the lack of integration of inputs from social scientists at the MIT medialab.

3- Leipzig

Guillaume Daudin presented the STRO conference in Leipzig and discussed the depth of collaboration between historians and IT researchers.

4- DH 2017

We missed the deadline. We discuss future papers with Paul: one for (hopefully) Digital Humanities Quarterly presenting the data transforming chain and one on the national and local effect of the loss of Canada for a economic history journal.

Related other papers in DHQ are :

5- The next meeting is on december 9th, 9:15am at the Médialab.