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The Performance of European Business in the Twentieth Century$
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Youssef Cassis, Andrea Colli, and Harm Schröter

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198749776

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198749776.001.0001

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The Performance of French Business in the Twentieth Century

The Performance of French Business in the Twentieth Century

(p.81) 6 The Performance of French Business in the Twentieth Century
The Performance of European Business in the Twentieth Century

Youssef Cassis

Anne Dalmasso

Pierre Vernus

Oxford University Press

Development of big business in France in the twentieth century followed a similar pattern to that in Britain and Germany. One specificity was the early development of service industries, including railways, before the First World War. Large firms in the industries of the Second Industrial Revolution rose to prominence in the interwar years, while the knowledge-based industries of the Third Industrial Revolution emerged timidly, as elsewhere, during the last quarter of the century. The performance of French big business, measured by return on equity, was fairly stable. Returns were highest before 1914, especially in the iron and steel industry, and, while strong, they did not surge in the closing years of the century. The holding return on the securities of leading companies was higher than the European average during the first half of the century, especially in the late 1920s and mid-1950s, but below the European average at its end.

Keywords:   France, big business, return on equity, holding return, service industry, iron and steel industry

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