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The Western European marriage pattern and economic development

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  • Foreman-Peck, James

Abstract

For several centuries before the First World War women's age at first marriage in the west of Europe was higher than in the east (and in the rest of the world). In their low mortality regimes Western Europeans chose lower fertility in part through a higher female age at marriage. This allowed women to increase their human capital both formally and informally in the years before child bearing so that more informed mothers brought up better educated offspring. The demographic pattern influenced the stock of human capital and directly contributed to Western Europe's development advantage. The predicted relations of this economic model of the household are tested with two datasets, one at the county level for England for the second half of the nineteenth century and the other at the national level for Europe 1870-1910.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 48 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 292-309

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:292-309

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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Keywords: Human capital Household production Economic development 19th century Europe;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kelly, Morgan & Ó Gráda, Cormac, 2012. "The Preventive Check in Medieval and Preindustrial England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 1015-1035, December.
  2. Nico Voigtländer and Hans-Joachim Voth, 2010. "How the West ’Invented’ Fertility Restriction," Working Papers 525, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2013. "Does women's education affect fertility? Evidence from pre-demographic transition Prussia," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 24-44, February.
  4. Ken Tabata, 2013. "The Expansion of the Commercial Sector and the Child Quantity-Quality Transition in a Malthusian World," Discussion Paper Series 105, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2013.
  5. Tracy Dennison & Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2013. "Does the European Marriage Pattern Explain Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 4244, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Dincecco, Mark & Katz, Gabriel, 2012. "State Capacity and Long-Run Performance," MPRA Paper 38299, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2013. "Family Structure and the Education Gender Gap: Evidence from Italian Provinces," CESifo Working Paper Series 4460, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Brezis, Elise S., 2010. "Can demographic transition only be explained by altruistic and neo-Malthusian models?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 233-240, April.
  9. Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Carus, A.W., 2014. "Institutions and Economic Growth in Historical Perspective," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 403-513 Elsevier.

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