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Real estate markets and the French Revolution: a long-term analysis from an institutional-economics perspective

Pieter De Reu (UGent) and Nicolas De Vijlder (UGent)
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Abstract
In this preliminary paper we investigate to what extent the French invasion of the Austrian Netherlands in 1794/1795, and the resulting legal reforms, impacted on the rural real estate market. Our analysis is twofold. First, we assessed the level of the market’s equilibrium (e.g. price level and yearly turnover) before, during and after the French occupation. We highlighted the changing geographical origin of property-buyers; from local residents to inhabitants of nearby cities and towns. Secondly, we used an econometric regression analysis of the value of land to evaluate the price formation for single plots of land throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In the short term a rupture in the market equilibrium arose, as an immediate consequence of the installation of a new fiscal-military state, a flawing mortgage system and the lack of a land survey system. Over a period of 3 to 5 years however, activity on the land market picked up as both the value and transferred acreage increased. Yet, the resonance of the brief but radical institutional change lasted for fifteen years. We will show that the institutional changes had both a direct and indirect long-term effect. On the one hand, the introduction of the Civil Code caused for the disappearance of the premium for freehold land, and thus a lower overall price level. On the other hand, these new institutions created a more transparent land market in the property’s socio-economic qualities accounted for a larger amount of the observed price differences.
Keywords
institutional change, fiscal administration, land market, real estate market, French Revolution, property structures

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MLA
De Reu, Pieter, and Nicolas De Vijlder. “Real Estate Markets and the French Revolution: a Long-term Analysis from an Institutional-economics Perspective.” 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Proceedings. 2013. Print.
APA
De Reu, P., & De Vijlder, N. (2013). Real estate markets and the French Revolution: a long-term analysis from an institutional-economics perspective. 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Proceedings. Presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association.
Chicago author-date
De Reu, Pieter, and Nicolas De Vijlder. 2013. “Real Estate Markets and the French Revolution: a Long-term Analysis from an Institutional-economics Perspective.” In 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Proceedings.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Reu, Pieter, and Nicolas De Vijlder. 2013. “Real Estate Markets and the French Revolution: a Long-term Analysis from an Institutional-economics Perspective.” In 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Proceedings.
Vancouver
1.
De Reu P, De Vijlder N. Real estate markets and the French Revolution: a long-term analysis from an institutional-economics perspective. 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Proceedings. 2013.
IEEE
[1]
P. De Reu and N. De Vijlder, “Real estate markets and the French Revolution: a long-term analysis from an institutional-economics perspective,” in 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Proceedings, Chicago, IL, USA, 2013.
@inproceedings{4199058,
  abstract     = {In this preliminary paper we investigate to what extent the French invasion of the Austrian Netherlands in 1794/1795, and the resulting legal reforms, impacted on the rural real estate market. Our analysis is twofold. First, we assessed the level of the market’s equilibrium (e.g. price level and yearly turnover) before, during and after the French occupation. We highlighted the changing geographical origin of property-buyers; from local residents to inhabitants of nearby cities and towns. Secondly, we used an econometric regression analysis of the value of land to evaluate the price formation for single plots of land throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In the short term a rupture in the market equilibrium arose, as an immediate consequence of the installation of a new fiscal-military state, a flawing mortgage system and the lack of a land survey system. Over a period of 3 to 5 years however, activity on the land market picked up as both the value and transferred acreage increased. Yet, the resonance of the brief but radical institutional change lasted for fifteen years. We will show that the institutional changes had both a direct and indirect long-term effect. On the one hand, the introduction of the Civil Code caused for the disappearance of the premium for freehold land, and thus a lower overall price level. On the other hand, these new institutions created a more transparent land market in the property’s socio-economic qualities accounted for a larger amount of the observed price differences.},
  author       = {De Reu, Pieter and De Vijlder, Nicolas},
  booktitle    = {38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Proceedings},
  keywords     = {institutional change,fiscal administration,land market,real estate market,French Revolution,property structures},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Chicago, IL, USA},
  pages        = {35},
  title        = {Real estate markets and the French Revolution: a long-term analysis from an institutional-economics perspective},
  year         = {2013},
}