Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

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Rea A. and Lela G. Axline Professor of Business Economics

California Institute of Technology






Division of Humanities and Social Sciences                               Phone: (626) 395-4058

California Institute of Technology                                              Fax: (626) 395-4065

1200 E. California Blvd.                                                      

MC 228-77

Pasadena, CA 91125


Date of Birth: 06/25/1962                                              

Citizenship: U.S.A.



Rea A. and Lela G. Axline Professor of Business Economics, Caltech,July 2008



            B.A. Reed College, 1984; History.

Thesis: "A Province Under the Influence: The Economics of Wine in Provence, (1660-1789)."


            Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 1988; Social Science.

           Dissertation: "The Fruits of Revolution: Property Rights, Litigation and French Agriculture (1700-1860)."



Gyorgy Ranki prize (Economic History Association) for outstanding book published in 1999 or 2000 for Priceless Markets. Fall 2001.

J.S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 2001-2002.

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences Fellowship, 1993-1994.

National Science Foundation, Young Investigator Award, 1992.

Arthur H. Cole Prize for best article in the Journal of Economic History, September 1991.

Alexander Gerschenkron Dissertation Prize (Economic History Association), September 1989.

Milton and Francis Clauser Dissertation Prize (Caltech), May 1988.

Alfred P. Sloan Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 1987-1988.

John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Fellowship, May-September 1987.



Agence Nationale pour la Recherche’s projets blanc “(CAPITAL : Unequal capital France 1807-2007). 2011-13 (Thomas Piketty PI).

Agence Nationale pour la Recherche’s program “Corpus et outils de la recherche en sciences humaines et socials” (PATRIMOINES : Richesse, retraites et inégalités des Patrimoines en France XIXe-XXe siècles). 2008-10 (Gilles Postel-Vinay PI).

National Science Foundation grant, 2007-2009 (Firm Governance, with Tim Guinnane, Ron Harris, and Naomi Lamoreaux)

National Science Foundation grant, 2005-2007. (Wealth Inequality)

Russell-Sage Foundation, Trust Initiative grant, 2002-2005.

            Russell-Sage Foundation, exploratory grant, 2000-2001.

            RBSL Bergman Foundation, 1995-1997, 1997-1998.

            Borchard Foundation, 1993-1994.

            National Science Foundation, Young Investigator Award, 1992-1997.



Visiting Professor, Paris School of Economics 2006-7; fall 2008.

Professor of Economics, California Institute of Technology, 2006.

Professor, UCLA Department of Economics, 1996-2006.

Visiting Associate Professor, UC Irvine, Department of Economics, Spring 1995.

Associate Professor, UCLA Department of Economics, 1993-1996.

Visiting Assistant Professor, Yale Department of Economics, Fall 1992.

Assistant Professor, UCLA Department of Economics, 1988-1993.

Teaching Assistant, Caltech, Spring 1986-Winter 1987.


Courses taught:

Intermediate Microeconomics, (undergraduate)

Competition and Monopoly (undergraduate)

European Economic History, (graduate and undergraduate)

American Economic History, (graduate and undergraduate)

Political Economy of Property Rights (graduate)

Political Economy of Corporate Governance (undergraduate)




Beyond and before Divergence; Institutions and Prosperity in China and Europe 1000-1800.  With R. Bin Wong.  Harvard University Press, February 2011.

Surviving Large Losses: Financial Crises, the Middle Class, and the Development of Capital Markets. With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. Harvard University Press. Spring 2007. Paperback edition Fall 2009.

Finance, Intermediaries and Economic Development. Coedited with Stanley Engerman, Philip T. Hoffman, and Kenneth Sokoloff. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Priceless Markets: The Political Economy of Credit in Paris, 1662-1869. With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. University of Chicago Press, 2000. Translated in French as Des marchés sans prix : l'économie politique du crédit à Paris, 1662-1869.  Presses de l'EHESS, 2001.

Analytic Narratives. With Robert Bates, Avner Greif, Margaret Levi, and Barry Weingast. Princeton University Press, 1998. Chinese edition 2008.

The Fruits of Revolution, Property Rights, Litigation and French Agriculture (1700-1860).  Cambridge University Press, 1992.



“Before and Beyond Divergence;A New Look at the Economic History of China and Europe.” With R.Bin Wong.  In M. Aoki, T. Kuran and G. Roland eds. Institutions and Comparative Economic Development (Proceedings of the International Economic Association. London, 2012. 64-78.

“The health cost of living in a city: The case of France at the end of the 19th century.” With Lionel Kesztenbaum. Explorations in Economic History Volume 48 (2), April 2011, Pages 207–225.

History, Geography, and the Markets for Mortgage Loans in 19th Century France. With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. Fall 2008. In Understanding Long-Run Economic Growth: Essays in Honor of Kenneth L. Sokoloff, edited by Dora L. Costa and Naomi R. Lamoreaux. University of Chicago Press 2011. Pp 155-76.

Making do with imperfect law: small firms in France and Germany, 1890-1935. Entreprise et Histoire # 57 Decenber 2009.  Pp 79-95.

“Is Trust an Ultimate Cause?  Its Role in the Long Run Development of Financial Markets in France,” in Cook, Levi, and Hardin eds. Whom can we trust. with Philip T. Hoffman  Gilles Postel-Vinay, 2010.  Pp 249-85.

“Pouvoir et propriété dans l’entreprise: pour une histoire international des sociétiés á responsabilité limitée,” Annales:  E.S.C., January 2008.  With Timothy Guinnane, Ron Harris, and Naomi R. Lamoreaux.  (English version “Ownership and Control in the Entrepreneurial Firm:  An International History of Private Limited Companies,” Yale University Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper #959, December 2007. )

“Putting the Corporation in its Place,” With Timothy Guinnane, Ron Harris and Naomi R.Lamoreaux. Enterprise and Society. Vol 8,  (3) 2007, 687-729.

“Wealth Concentration in a Developing Economy: Paris and France, 1807-1994.” With Thomas Piketty and Gilles Postel-Vinay. American Economic Review. Vol. 96 (1), 2006, 236-56.

“Historical Financing of Small- and Medium-Size Enterprises.” With Robert Cull, Lance E. Davis, and Naomi R. Lamoreaux. Journal of Banking and Finance. Vol. 30, 3017-42.

Corporate Governance and the Plight of Minority Shareholders in the United States
before the Great Depression.” With Naomi R. Lamoreaux. In E. Glazer and C. Goldin eds.
Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America’s History. University of Chicago Press. 2006, 125-152.

“Legal Regime and Business’s Organizational Choice: A Comparison of France and the United States during the Mid-Nineteenth Century.” With Naomi R. Lamoreaux. American Law and Economic Review, Vol. 7 (1), 2005, 28-61.

“Le drainage dans le Pays d’Auge: Les conséquences des droits de proprieté incertains.” In S. Ciriacono ed. Eau et développement dans l’Europe moderne. Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, Paris, 2004, 197-217.

“Révolution et évolution : Les marchés de crédit notarié en France, 1780-1840.” With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay.  Annales E.S.C., Vol. 59 (2), March-April 2004, 387-424.

“No Exit: Notarial Bankruptcies and the Evolution of Financial Intermediation in Nineteenth Century Paris.” With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. In S. Engerman et al. eds., Finance, Intermediaries And Economic Development. Cambridge University Press, 2003, 75-108.

“The Development of Intermediation in French Credit Markets: Evidence from the Estates of Burgundy.” With Mark Potter. Journal of Economic History, Vol. 62 (4), Dec. 2002, 1024-1049.

“New Work in French Economic History.” With Philip T. Hoffman. French Historical Studies, Vol. 23 (3), Summer 2000, 439-454.

“Information and Economic History: How the Credit Market in Old Regime Paris Forces Us to Rethink the Transition to Capitalism.” With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. American Historical Review, Vol. 104 (1), February 1999, 69-104.

“The Political Economy of Absolutism Reconsidered.” In Analytic Narratives, coedited with R. Bates, A. Greif, M. Levi, and B. Weingast. Princeton University Press, 1998, 63-108.

“What Do Notaries Do?: Overcoming Asymmetric Information in Financial Markets: The Case of Paris, 1751.” With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Vol. 154 (3), September 1998: 499-530.

“The Burgundian Estates’ Bond Market: Clienteles and Intermediaries, 1660-1790.” With Mark Potter.  In Paul Servais ed., Réseaux et cultures du crédit du XVIème au XXème siècle en Europe. University of Louvain Press, 1997, 173-195.

“Deposits, Bankruptcy, and Notarial Credit in Late Eighteenth-Century Paris.” With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay.  In Paul Servais ed., Réseaux et cultures du crédit du XVIème au XXème siècle en Europe. University of Louvain Press, 1997, 245-267.

“Politics and Public Finance in France: The Estates of Burgundy, 1670-1789.” With Mark Potter. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. XXVII, Spring 1997, 577-612.

“The Political Economy of Warfare and Taxation in Early Modern Europe: Historical Lessons for Economic Development.” With Philip T. Hoffman. In  J. Droback and J. Nye eds. Frontiers of Institutional Economics. Academic Press, 1997, 31-55.

“Redistribution and Long-Term Private Debt in Paris, 1660-1726.” With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. Journal of Economic History, Vol. 55, June 1995, 256-284.

“Rural Credit Markets and Aggregate Shocks: The Experience of Nuits St. Georges in Burgundy, 1756-1776.” Journal of Economic History, Vol. 54, June 1994, 288-306.

“Economie et Politique: Les marchés du crédit à Paris 1750-1840.” With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. Annales E.S.C., Vol. 1, January 1994, 65-98.

“Credit Markets and Economic Change in Southeastern France 1630-1788.” Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 30, April 1993, 129-157.

“Private Credit Markets in Paris 1690-1840.”  With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. Journal of Economic History, Vol. 52 , June 1992, 293-306.

“The Development of Irrigation in Provence 1700-1860: The French Revolution and Economic Growth.” Journal of Economic History, Vol. 50, September 1990, 615-638.


Short Pieces


Rememberance of Crises Past,” Engineering and Science. Volume LXXI (4), 2008:20-25.

“Comment on: Entity Shielding and the Development of Business Forms: A Comparative Perspective.” With Naomi R. Lamoreaux, 119 Harvard Law Review Forum. 238 (2006).

“Analytic Narratives.” With R. Bates, A. Greif, M. Levi, and B. Weingast. Social Science History, Vol. 24 (4), Winter 2000, 685-696.

“The Analytic Narrative Project.” With R. Bates, A. Greif, M. Levi, and B. Weingast, American Political Science Review, Vol. 94 (3), September 2000, 696-702.

Comments on dissertations by Cowen, Hanley, and Voth. Journal of Economic History, Vol. 57 (2), June 1997, 505-509.

Two articles for the Palgrave Dictionary of  Money and Finance on the Crédit Mobilier and the Crédit Foncier. With Gilles Postel-Vinay. 1992.

Dissertation Summary: “The Fruits of Revolution: Property Rights, Litigation and French Agriculture (1700-1860).” Journal of Economic History. Vol. 50 (2), June 1990, 438-39.



“Inherited vs Self-Made Wealth:  Theory & Evidence from a Rentier Society” With Thomas Piketty, and Gilles Postel-Vinay  April 2013, Resubmitted Explorations in Economic History.


1740 and the Rules of the Game; Chapter 2 of Priceless Markets II, Mortage Markets in France 1740-1900. With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. February 2012.

“Adapting the Law to Fit the Facts: the GmbH, the SARL, and the Organization of Small Firms in Germany and France, 1892-1930.” July 2012. With Timothy Guinnane.

“The Democratization of Longevity;Wealth and Mortality in Paris, 1870-1930.” With Lionel Kestzenbaum. April 2012, revised April 2013. Submitted AER.

“What Are your Neighbor’s Neighbors Doing? Notarial Credit and Distance in France 1740-1899.” With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. January 2012.

Contracts and Revolution: The View from the Gard’s Notaries, 1779-1808. With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. February 2011.

The Old Economics of Information and the Remarkable Persistence of Traditional Credit Markets in France 1740-1899.” With Philip T. Hoffman and Gilles Postel-Vinay. Fall 2007.

The increased concentration of wealth in Paris 1807-1912; of Revolution and Demography with Thomas Piketty, and Gilles Postel Vinay, Fall 2006.

 “Organizing Middle-Sized Firms in the United States and France, 1830-2000.” With Naomi R. Lamoreaux. Fall 2003.

“The Size of the Ante: Inequality, Financial Markets and Growth in Paris 1780-1907.” Winter 2002.

“Divided We Fall: The Political Economy of  Warfare and Taxation.” With Philip T. Hoffman. Summer 2000.



Editorial Boards 

Journal of Economic Literature (2013-present), Journal of Comparative Economics (2009-2012), Explorations in Economic History (1996-2010), European Review of Economic History (editiorial board 2007-2010, scientific advisory board 2010-present), Journal of Economic History (2000-2004).

Editor, Journal of Economic History, 2010-4.


Referee and Reader Reports

Agricultural History, American Economic Review, Cambridge University Press, Explorations in Economic History, Historical Methods, French Historical Studies, Harvard University Press, Journal of Economic History, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, International Review of Law and Economics, Journal of Law, Economics and Organizations, National Science Foundation, Review of Economic Studies, University of Chicago Press, Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of Economics.


Book Reviews 

Journal of Economic History, Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Social History, American Journal of Sociology, Albion, EH-Net.


Divisional Service (at Caltech)


             Executive officer for Social Science 2007-2013.


Department Service (at UCLA)

Undergraduate Committee (1988-1989); Junior Staffing Committee (1989-1991, 1994-1995, 2002-2003); Executive Committee (1991-1993); Computing Committee (1993-1994); Long Range Planning Committee (1993-1994); Undergraduate Vice Chair (1996-2000); Senior Recruiting Committee (1998-1999); Personnel Committee (2000-2001). Graduate Placement Director (2000-2001, 2002-2006), Development Committee (2004-2006).


University Service

(at UCLA)

Latin American Publication Committee (1995-1998); Center for European and Russian Studies, Advisory Board (1998-present); Associate Director, UCLA Center for Global and Comparative Research (2000-2003), Advisory Board, International Institute 2005-2006.

(at Caltech)

Chair, Ad Hoc Online Curriculum Committee   


Field Service

All-UC Group in Economic History : Steering Committee (1993-2006); Chair Graduate Fellowship Committee (2000-2006); Program committee for conferences (1993, 1996, 2000, 2004). Co-Chair Program committee Spring 2008, 2011.

Economic History Association: Ranki Prize committee for best book in European Economic History (1990-1997); Dissertation panel convener (Fall 1996);  Chair, Program Committee (2005 meetings); Trustee 2006-10; Nomination Committee 2008-10.

Cliometric Society: Trustee (1997-2001).

ISNIE: Program Committee 2009 meeting.

Canadian Network for Economic History: Keynote Speaker 2008.



MIT-Havard Seminar on Poverty, Williams College, Yale University, USC Law School, Austrialia New-Zealand Economic History Association, Yale University Center for Economic History Conference “Beyond and Before Europe,” Stanford University, Northwestern University, Social Science History Association, IMT Lucca, UC Davis, UC Riverside conference on financial intermediaries in history, Stanford University, University of Arizona, SITE, Economic History Association, Toulouse School of Economics, UCLA, Yale University, All-UC Group in Economic History.




Committee Chair or Co-Chair

        Ph.D., completed, with current employment

Hajime Hadeishi (1996, FDIC)

David Madero Suarez (1997, Treasury Department, Mexico)

Mark Potter (1998, University of Wyoming)

Lacey Plache (1999, Competition Policy Associates (COMPASS))

Jordi Prat (1999, IMF)

Carlos Castillo (2002, Central Bank, Guatemala)

Daniel Bogart (2003, UC Irvine)

Duol Kim (2003, Korea Development Institute)

Leah Brooks (2005, McGill University)

Mark Dincecco (2006, IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)

Kenneth Ahern (2007, University of Michigan Business School)

Gonzalo Islas Rojas (2007, Escuela de Negocios-Universidad Adolfo Ibanez)

Nina, Walton (2008, USC Law School)

Judith Frias (2008, Ministry of Labor Mexico)


        Dissertation in progress

Federico Tadei (4th year).

Samantha Myers (3rd year).


California Institute of Technology