Predation, Seigneurial Tenure and Development in French Colonial America

I have a new working paper (single-authored) that I have just submitted. It concerns one of the many facets of the colonial institution of seigneurial tenure (which existed for Canada from the 17th century to 1854) that contributed in slowing down economic growth and depressing income levels. More precisely, I argue that the institution was the equivalent of a predatory state. The paper is available here on SSRN and the abstract is below:

This paper argues that significant transfers from peasants to landlords through private taxes and duties under seigneurial law in the French colonies in North America in the eighteenth century have been underestimated. They represented a burden equal to 5.19% to 6.89% of income. This high taxation burden – which was not converted into public goods – created a supply-side impediment to economic growth


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