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Prudence and Pressure: Reproduction and Human Agency in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900

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Author Info

  • Noriko O. Tsuya

    (Keio University, Tokyo)

  • Wang Feng

    ()
    (University of California, Irvine)

  • George Alter

    ()
    (University of Michigan)

  • James Z. Lee

    ()
    (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

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    Abstract

    This pioneering study reconceptualizes the impact of social organizations, economic conditions, and human agency on human reproduction in preindustrial communities in Europe and Asia. Unlike previous studies, in which Asia is meeasured by European standards, Prudence and Pressure develops a Eurasian perspective. Drawing on rich new data and the tools of event-history analysis, the authors challenge the accepted Eurocentric Malthusian view that attributes "prudence" (smaller families due to late marriage) to the preindustrial West and "pressure" (high mortality due to overpopulation) to the East, showing instead important similarities between Europe and Asia in human motivation and population behavior. The authors analyze age, gender, family and household, kinship, social class and power, religion, culture, and economic resources in order to compare reproductive strategies and outcomes. They reveal underlying similarities between East and West in two major components of the reproductive regime—marriage and childbearing—and offer evidence showing that preindustrial reproduction was motivated and governed by human agency at least as much as by human biology. Prudence and Pressure is part of a large-scale interdisciplinary effort to use new data and methods to re-examine the Malthusian paradigm of population growth. It represents a significant advance in the fields of historical demography, history, and sociology. Eurasian Population and Family History series

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    Bibliographic Info

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    This book is provided by The MIT Press in its series MIT Press Books with number 0262013525 and published in 2010.

    Volume: 1
    Edition: 1
    ISBN: 0-262-01352-5
    Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262013525

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu

    Related research

    Keywords: Europe; Asia; economic history; population growth; historical demography; human reproduction;

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    Cited by:
    1. Timothy W. Guinnane & Sheilagh C. Ogilvie, 2013. "A Two-Tiered Demographic System: "Insiders" and "Outsiders" in Three Swabian Communities, 1558-1914," Working Papers 1021, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    2. Tracy Dennison & Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2013. "Does the European Marriage Pattern Explain Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 4244, CESifo Group Munich.

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