Change and Persistence in the Age of Modernization: Saint-Germain-d'Anxure, 1730-1895

Guillaume Blanc, Romain Wacziarg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a unique, comprehensive household-level dataset for a single French village, we study the process of modernization during a period of rapid institutional and demographic transformation. We document changes in fertility, mortality, literacy and intergenerational social mobility. The fall in fertility followed the French Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment, and preceded the rise in education by several decades. Rising literacy followed an increase in the supply of schooling due to the Guizot Law. All these changes occurred in the absence of industrialization in and around the village. We conclude that institutional and cultural changes originating outside the village were likely the dominant forces accounting for its modernization.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101352
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Modernisation
  • modernization
  • growth
  • Demographic transition
  • human capital
  • institutions


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