The Crédit Agricole prize for business history
Each year, Crédit Agricole S.A. awards a prize for business history in partnership with French business journal Entreprises et Histoire.
The aim of the prize is to encourage high quality historical research, supporting the publication of the winning piece of work.
The sixth Crédit Agricole prize for business history was awarded to Claire Lemercier for A French model of peer review. Commercial courts, 1790-1880 (Paris 8 University, Vincennes-Saint-Denis), a mémoire d’habilitation (accreditation to supervise research) in history.
Claire Lemercier is a leading researcher in the history of French economic institutions and an acknowledged analyst of the historical role played by networks. In this as-yet unpublished thesis, she analyses the workings of French commercial courts in the 19th century as well as the procedures for appealing to these often disparaged institutions.
Commercial disputes are subject to peer review through flexible, speedy procedures designed to deal with a wide variety of cases. The originality of this procedure, long-established in France, is compared with examples from the UK and the United States (specifically New York) and with the role of two similar institutions: conseils de prud’hommes (industrial tribunals) and chambres syndicales (employers’ federations).
By scrutinising the way French commercial courts operate, Ms Lemercier shows how business practices are taken into account when legislation is formulated. More broadly, her brilliant study revitalises the scientific approach to different forms of economic regulation, encouraging the reader to make an in-depth study of their historical and social roots.
The jury also awarded a special distinction and a publication grant to the history thesis by Viera Rebolledo-Dhuin titled Book Trade and Credit. Book professions and their networks in Paris, 1830-1870 (University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines).
By studying bankruptcies in the 19th century book trade, this thesis recreates the world of Parisian bookshops and their credit practices. It adds to an already substantial body of research into the types of credit used in our society and the role they play.