The French Economy

Frances M. B. Lynch

£60.00  |  $90.00
ISBN 9781788211642
£18.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788211659
£18.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788211666
240 pages   |  210 x 148mm   |  02 September 2021


"Frances Lynch's accessible analysis should entail a profound realignment of our understanding of the relative strengths of the French – and the UK – economies by the UK's media, governing classes and economic historians. A truly myth-busting account of the shape of the contemporary and historical French economy." – David Edgerton, Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and Professor of Modern British History, King's College London

"The book not only succeeds as a great introduction to the French economy, post-1945, for readers new to the subject. It will be valuable to more seasoned students of the subject who want to see how one of the leading authorities in this field is thinking about key questions in France’s recent economic history. Vital and unique." – Herrick Chapman, Professor Emeritus of History, New York University and author of France’s Long Reconstruction: In Search of the Modern Republic


Despite being invariably misunderstood by anglophones and often derided in the English-language financial press, the French economy is one of the world’s major economies. For many years characterized by a distinctive economic model in which the French state intervened to correct or prevent market failures, as France has embraced the global market, its economy has increasingly converged with the western norm, but it remains different from its neighbours, particularly Germany and the UK, in a number of important respects.

This general economic history of modern France – the first in the English language for nearly twenty years – provides an authoritative analysis of the workings of the modern French economy since its postwar reforms through to the present day. The book explores the monetary and fiscal policies of successive governments and the country’s economic performance through a variety of indicators. In particular the book considers the attempts by the state to correct the regional imbalances associated with the contraction of agriculture and the decline of historically important industries as well as mitigating the dominance of Paris. The parts played by demographic change, migration, inequality, and the European project in French economic development are also investigated alongside the strength and competitiveness of key industries like finance, energy and transport.


1. Introducing the French economy
2. The changing French economic model
3. Growth and structural change in the French economy
4. Regional inequality
5. Interpersonal inequality
6. The French economy and Europe
7. Conclusion

Author Information

Frances M. B. Lynch is Emerita Reader in History at the University of Westminster. She has written extensively on the economic history of modern France, including France and the International Economy: From Vichy to the Treaty of Rome.

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