Archives de catégorie : Meetings

May 22nd internal meeting

Present: LoÏc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Paul Girard, Demba Konate, Laura Moutou

1) RICARDO : presentation of the work by Paul, Béatrice and Matteo Azzi
It uses opensource code (deposited at github). Licence OpenSource (interdit d’inclure le code dans une application dont le code est fermé)

3 tools
– Database creation : from Access to SQL Lite (MDBTools did help — a number of data correction were made as well)
But Access has been kept as the reference database.
– Client : web interface in HTML 5, using Java D3JS by Matteo Azzi
This interface can be scripted, but one has to understand the API language (and OpenRefine should help)
– API : links between the client and the database

We have left aside for the time being the time-dependant colonial dependencies : we will need more funding for that.

We hope this work will be useable for TOFLIT18 afterward — still we will need one month of designer’s work.

2)  We discussed the TOFLIT planning and how to organize Guillaume Plique’s contract. We will move him from eight to seven months, and have him start latter, till early 2016.

3) Online storage of the data
We will try LiveDrive
Nakala from Humanum is not adapted at all to what we are trying to do.

4) Call for tender for transcription
Everything is done. SMSI (national data) should be ready in mid-july. TASECRA (regional data) in two batches : one in mid-september, one in mid-december

5) Laura and Demba introduce themselves

6) We have to obtain « Etats de dépenses » from our administrations

7) Next meeting : July 3rd at 10. All are welcome !

Report on the May 23rd workshop


Thank you to Alexandre Aubourg, who wrote this report on the May 23rd meeting on Early Trade Statistics at the OFCE, Paris

For more details on the working day, see

Attendance :

The first presentation was a welcome word by Jérôme Creel, who remined us of the economic history tradition in the OFCE.

Loïc Charles (University of Paris 8/INED) gave a presentation on the findings and the issues raised by the questionnaires on trade statistics. The statistics accumulated can be classified according the geopolitical unit to which they belonged: ports, regions or nations. While each unit has its advantages and disavantages, another geographical issue brought to light was the presence of a land frontier.The collection of the data was carried out for fiscal purpose even though mercantilism was on the wane (the rise of the Weberian state comes as a possible explanation). Some technical issues come from prices – which are sometimes fixed or lacking. The creation of common measures between monetary accounts, weights and quantities or the use of premiums added to a given set of price may help solve these problems. While bilateral comparisons could be interesting, one should be aware that any economic issue will be constrained by the dataset available. It was also underlined that when indications of destination/origin, price, long series are present, it would be quite interesting to compute indicators of trade specialisation. Some programmatic issues introduced : one may adopt a comprehensive approach involving the names of individual goods and a description and translation work (which was prefered by the audience) or a limited approach using the value of trade per category expressed in common currency.

Ulrich Pfister (University of Münster) presented a paper on import trade in Hamburg (1733-1798), the port of which had key role in the German trade overseas- notably the colonial trade. The dataset is composed of 187,000 declarations of value of imported goods coming from import toll ledgers and provides a consistent picture of Germany’s international economy. For simplicity, 40 major groups were notably obtained from 6,900 terms. Moreover, deflating current Hambourg price allowed to obtain prices for 44 commodities of interest. The results show an increase in openess, while no steady trend and war-related schocks can be observed. However, the dataset is flawed by under registration that may be explained by transit trade and rival satellite ports.

Werner Scheltjens (University of Leipzig) presented a study of French import for the Baltic between 1670 and 1850. The main source are the Sound Toll Registers, which are the records of the toll levied on the passage of ships through the Sound. A significant part of the work consisted in homogenizing and the standardizing products, converting weights and measures and combining them with origins. The results notably highlight a sharp decline in the French share of imported goods in the late 1770s.

Cristina Moreira (University of Minho), Jari Eloranta (Appalachian State University and University of Jyväskylä), Jari Ojala (University of Jyväskylä) and Lauri Karvonen (Åbo Akademi University) discussed over methodological issues in comparing trade flows between Portugal and Scandinavia, which proved to be very good partners. One major issue regards the use of values (which may be easily compared but leads to difficult problems to deal with) and volume (which are precise but not easily comparable). Ulrich Pfister argued that one should work with real volumes and create an index of trade to get the evolution of prices. As it was also pointed out during the discussion, the use of bilateral trade, which does not always represent the genuine structure of trade, may also be questionned. We also face matching problems, which may lead us to focus on ships.

Jeroen van der Vliet (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam), whose aim is to link Amsterdam and Sound data sources, showed how he used a shipment approach and looked at the size of Dutch merchants fleet and the tonnage per destination. His main source are the “musterolls”, which provides a comprehensive biography of the ships. After describing the usages of the merchants in Amsterdam and comparing the data, he discussed the link between the utilization of the flag of convenience and the apparent relative decline of Amsterdam over the 18th century.

Hubert Escaith (WTO) gave a presentation on past and current issues in trade statistics. After a short talk about the evolution of official statistis from the 18th century, the frequentist and subjectivist schools and their success over space, sectors and time were presented. Hubert then launched in a discussion on current issues in trade statistics – notably the motives for collecting trade statistics (which are useful for the government – among other things to show their solvability, as François Mouriaux pointed out) and the importance of tracking value-added trade.

Guillaume Daudin (Univerisity of Paris-Dauphine/OFCE) presented a comparison between the French Balance du Commerce and the Sound Toll database. First, the sources have to be made comparable, which means that some issues related to the classification of goods, translation to French, quantity units but also geographical changes have to be fixed. Comparisons of the sectorial composition of trade in a given year, the volume of trade, the values, the number of pieces and the longitudinal evolution of trade throughout the period are then carried out. While some anomalies regarding the composition of trade were highlighted, it was found that the composition of Sound taxes was related to the composition of the value of French trade.

May 24th meeting

Thanks to Alexandre Aubourg who prepared the first version of this report on the May 24th meeting.


Present : Alexandre Aubourg, Bertrand Blancheton, Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Pierre Gervais, Demba Konate, Ivan Ledezma, Yannick Le Pen, Silvia Marzagalli, Laura Moutou, Pierrick Pourchasse.

1) Some issues related to the German and Italian sources :

  • The contrast between German and Italian sources is striking. We have found many specialists for Italian sources. We could ask Biagio Salvemini ? Maria Furaso ? If we need more.
  • Regarding the German sources, we do not know who should be contacted. Maybe is it the case that little German sources survive ? There is no secondary sources before 1830s and the existence of primary sources is called into question. Werner has worked on Stettin and many documents are not available. Loïc will ask Christiane Lebeau. Regarding the Prussian case, Pierrick underlined that sources for merchandise per port coming from the Danish consuls should be available.

2) OFCE review and questionnaires :

  • We are thinking about a general description of the sources, a lexicon and a presentation of the data (eg the flag issue).
  • During the OFCE meeting, we noticed a discrepancy between quantities and values (but the questions came mainly from economists).
  • The questionnaires should be standardized and some points have to be made explicit.
  • A few pages on the difficulty to handle different sources could be written.

3) Transcription of the data

  • The national data will be retranscribed by SMSI by the end of the summer, while the transcription of the regional data will be carried out by Thasectra (a large portion should be ready for the end of the year).
  • Colonial data are mainly located in Aix-en-Provence (used by Tarrade) (a small portion may be found in Paris in the Lavoisier archives, but it is probably not very interesting). We are notably interested in obtaining data that is disaggregated by colony.
  • Discussion on how they computed the « national » price

4) Classification of the data

  • The possibility to incorporate Silvia’s and Pierre’s work (classification in 3 dimensions) was highlighted.
  • We notably have to fix the issues related to the meta-categories and the internal categories.
  • We also discussed the ties with Blancheton’s work on the 18th century and the goals of Huma-num.

4b) Other link with Navigocorpus

  • As soon as 1787 is ready, we will compare it with Navigocorpus’s results

5) Ricardo 1830-1938

  • The project was presented by Beatrice. The main objective is to put the database online and the first version is planned for the last quarter of 2014. The data base is being cleaned up for one year and some issues regarding the country classification were raised.
  • We discussed the wisdom of integrating IT people in our projects, and contrasted Navigocorpus’s choice with TOFLIT’s and RICARDO’s

6) Calendar

  • The importance of the intern workshop planned in november/december 2014 was underlined. A reflexion on the tools, the strategy for interpretation and maybe a special issue should be launched.
  • We also addressed the possibility to set up a European project in the near future.

7) An application for Huma-Num accreditation will be submitted in september

  • We also mentioned the possibility to create a consortium.We may first look for technical solutions in order to enter the data. Then, these ressources will be made available and participatory research will be encouraged. The valuation and the reflexion on the comparison can be done beforehand.
  • Bertrand will see Bourdalé in early June
  • Other projects : Fichoz //
  • We discuss the difficulties of these projects and their long-term viability

Attendance to the workshop May 23rd

We had a great day on May 23rd discussing early trade statistics in Europe in general (with a focus on the Sound). Here is the list of people who were here :

Aubourg, Alexandre (SciencesPo)
Beaubau, Patrice (Paris-10)
Charles, Loïc (INED-Paris-8)
Daudin, Guillaume (Dauphine-OFCE)
Dedinger, Béatrice (SciencesPo)
Escaith, Hubert (OMC)
Fouquin, Michel (CEPII)
Sanchez Romero, Gabriela (SciencesPo)
Girard, Paul (SciencesPo)
Hugot, Jules (SciencesPo)
Jimenez-Garcia, Blanca (Dauphine)
Karvonen, Lauri (Jyvaskyla)
Konate, Demba (Paris-8)
Ledezma, Ivan (Dauphine)
Marzagalli, Silvia (Nice)
Moreira, Cristina (Minho)
Mouriaux, François (Banque de France)
Moutou, Laura (Paris-8)
Ogren, Anders (Lund)
Onfroy, Karine (Bordeaux)
Pfister, Ulrich (Münster)
Pourchasse, Pierrick (Brest)
Salvemini, Biagio (Bari)
Scheltjens, Werner (Leipzig)
van der Vliet, Jeroen (Riksmuseum, Amsterdam)

May 23rd meeting


Early trade statistics: What are they and why do we care

May 23rd 2014

Ground floor room
OFCE 69 Quai d’Orsay
75007 Paris

The development of economic expertise and the growing availability of economic statistics go hand in hand. That has been the case from the late 17th century, when a number of innovators in economic thought were also political arithmeticians. As such, shortcutting the understanding of the production of economic statistics can only lead to bad expertise. This workshop will examine the production of part of the earliest available macroeconomic statistics: those dealing with trade.

This study is especially interesting in the 18th century because continental Europe went through a growing integration phase before the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. While Great-Britain was retreating from continental markets for the benefit of overseas ones (despite he 1786 trade treaty with France), free trade was making progress on the continent, supported by a wave of free trade treaties in the 1780s. This was followed by the closing up of European national economies during and after the wars. What was the relation between the two phenomena? Considering that what is usually called the “First” globalization of the 19th century floundered after World War I, is there some kind of regularities that should be taken into account when we examine the consequences of our current globalization? What are the available data? How can we work with them? What do they teach us about the economic evolutions in this pre-statistic age?


Ground floor room OFCE 69 Quai d’Orsay 75007 Paris

9.30-9.45 Welcome word by the OFCE president

9.45-10.00 Presenting TOFLIT18 and the program

10.00-10.45 Loïc Charles (University of Paris-8/INED): Sources and pitfall in early trade statistics (summarizing the questionnaires)

Charles – Questionnaires_synth – 2014

10.45-11.00 Coffee break

11.00-11.45 Ulrich Pfister (University of Münster), Import trade in Hamburg, 1733-1798

Pfister – Hamburg 18c trade statistics, Paris OFCE 2014-05-23

11.45-12.30 Werner Scheltjens (University of Leipzig), French imports and exports from the Baltic 1670-1850: a quantitative analysis.

SCHELTJENS French imports to the Baltic, 1670-1850

12.30-2.15 Lunch

2.15-3.00 Cristina Moreira (University of Minho), Jari Eloranta (Appalachian State University and University of Jyväskylä), Jari Ojala (University of Jyväskylä) and Lauri Karvonen (Åbo Akademi University), Methodological Issues in Comparing Trade Flows between Portugal
and Scandinavia: Lessons from the Soundtoll Records

MCM_JE_JO_LK – Trade Flows between Portugal and Scandinavia – 2014

3.00-3.45 Jeroen van der Vliet (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam), Linking Amsterdam
and Sound data sources

van der Vliet – Amsterdam and Sound – 2014

3.45-4.00 Coffee break

4.00-4.45 Guillaume Daudin (University of Paris-Dauphine/OFCE), Linking French and Sound data sources

Daudin – France and Sound – 2014

4.45-5.30 Hubert Escaith (WTO), Comparing past and current issues in trade statistics

This event is open to all. To register, please send an email before May 21st 2014 at: . It is funded both by OFCE and the ANR TOFLIT18 (

Scientific committee:

Guillaume Daudin (

Loïc Charles (


Sylvie Legolvan ( – 01 44 18 54 07)

Inscriptions & informations:

Valérie Richard ( – 01 44 18 54 23)

Meeting 10/04/2014

Present : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Paul Girard, Guillaume Plique

1) We still have not found a solution for a shared backed up storage space. We are still looking.

2) OpenRefine confirms it is very useful for the project (see

3) Loïc discusses the data he has found in Rouen. It is a very good quality — and includes some Caen numbers. He suggests we should leave Dardel’s notes and use the existing original data either.

4) We are expecting answers to the “Apple d’offre” on April 22nd

5) Loïc is going to Marseille soon. Only Bayonne and the colonies would be left.

6) Next step for the Médialab: work with the description scheme of the data.

7) Interns: Demba Konaké has already started (and will stay till July 31st). Laura Moutou will work from May 1st to July 31st. Alexandre Aubourg from May 26th to August 31st. We will add their presentations to the website.

8) We discuss how to track expenses regularly (ask for an “état des dépenses engagées / soldées” every three months

9) Next meeting : May 22nd at 9.30am


Meeting 06/03/2014

Points discussed :

Present : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Paul Girard et Guillaume Plique

1) Guillaume Plique introduces himself.

2) RICARDO. The “development” week will be from April 22 to April 25.

3) RICARDO. Hosting throug the new CHSP website.

4) Retranscription. We failed to find a service provider for administrative reasons. We will try again.

4bis) Internship news

5) Cloud storage space. The DSI solution does not seem possible. We will try OVH.

6) Task management. Trello seems a fine program

7) 23 May meeting and special issue.
20 questionnaires have been promised. We hope to have 9 more.
We have already three papers for the meeting, we hope for two more.

8) Data presentation and OpenRefine

Meeting January 30th 2014

Present : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Paul Girard

Points discussed :

– RICARDO advancement.
— The developer should be able to work on the database at the end of March.
— Kareen has done the 2nd cleaning up. She is now working on graphs. She is not sure to finish it by Easter.
— Discussion on entity agregation
— Hosting. Talks are still going on. Ideally, it should be done by the CHSP.

– TOFLIT18 database development. Someone has been found, who we will meet on next meeting.

– TOFLIT18 retranscription. We should have service provider propositions by mid-February

– TOFLIT18 data backup. We are still in discussion with the DSI

– Tools to share tasks.

– May 23rd conference

Next meeting : March 6th at 16.15

OFCE special issue and May 23rd 2014 workshop

I am delighted to announce that the OFCE ( has accepted to publish a special issue (in English) of its in-house Journal about “18th century European trade statistics, existing series and methodological issues ».

The Revue de l’OFCE is accessible online, referenced in Econlit and (for French scolars) in the CNRS ranking list, which makes it a very reasonnable outlet in terms of dissemination/reputation, especially as we will publish methodology papers that usually find no easy outlet.This will be the occasion to publish the papers and questionnaires prepared for past meeting of the 18th century trade group in Lille and various places. We hope this issue will establish itself as an important reference for all people interested in 18th century trade.
To prepare this issue, Loïc and myself would like to organize a one-day workshop to confront 18th century historian with statisticians working with current-day data (e.g. from the statistic department of the WTO). This will take place on May 23rd 2014 in Paris (with the firm belief that anything being organized in Paris in May can only gather crowds).

Meeting December 3rd 2013

Present : Loïc Charles, Guillaume Daudin, Béatrice Dedinger, Paul Girard

Points discussed :

– RICARDO advancement

– Link with the “Atelier de Cartographie” at SciencesPo and their Google project on representing flow data

– Long-term hosting of the database. Huma-Num seems more promising than the external alternatives. Maybe SciencesPo library in link with BE Quali ?

– Date choice for the 1st semester 2014 meeting (24/05/14)

– Discussion of the best way to do retranscribe the data. Waiting for some SMSI news.

– Discussion about how to include the primary data (pictures) in the datascape

– We will ask SciencesPo DSI for 150 Go of shared, backed up, server space for stockpile our data accessible by FTP.

– Planning of regular methodology meetings with at least Paul, Béatrice, Loïc and Guillaume : January 30th, March 6th, April 3rd, May 24th