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A popular explanation for the supposed 'delayed industrialisation' of the nineteenth century French economy has been the inappropriate attitudes and actions of the managerial classes and family firms. To address these claims we model the supply and demand for entrepreneurship and also management success. We analyse a data set of 244 nineteenth century French businessmen, showing that on the demand side textiles offered greater, and iron and steel less, than average opportunities. On the supplydoi:10.1017/s1361491698000112 fatcat:beu2h6ryw5fyvefsh7qqf6feae