The performance of French business in the twentieth century
Title: The performance of French business in the twentieth century
Citation: Youssef CASSIS, Andres COLLI and Harm G. SCHRÖTER (eds), The performance of European business in the twentieth century, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 81-90
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.
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