Manufacturing Strategies in the Eighteenth Century: Subcontracting for Growth among Papermakers in the Auvergne
The Journal of Economic History
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From the sixteenth century to the end of the eighteenth century, the papermakers of Ambert (Auvergne, France) remained the leading producers of quality printing paper in Europe. During the second half of the eighteenth century, they expanded greatly their production in response to a dynamic market. This success was achieved not through the adoption of new methods or the expansion of enterprises but through subcontracting practices. This article explores the conditions that fostered such strategies. It confirms the multiplicity of options available to early modern manufacturers but suggests that the socioeconomic characteristics of each community of producers conditioned their choices.