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Fertility, Non-Altruism and Economic Growth: Industrialization in the Nineteenth Century


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  • Elise s. Brezis

    (Department of Economics, Bar Ilan University)


This paper presents a model of fertility, which is specific for the industrialization that took place during the nineteenth century and which was concurrent with the demographic transition that occurred over the period. While previous research on demographic transition assumed altruism as the main element explaining the increase in fertility rates, this paper does not, since altruism seems irrelevant over this period. The relationship between parents and children is part of a whole set of values and social norms that evolved over time and were affected by changes in the economic environment. In the nineteenth century, parental behavior was not compatible with altruism. I therefore present a model that suits the social norms of the nineteenth century. The value that seems to correspond to the legal system and social norms regarding the parent-child relationship of the period of industrialization is perpetuation. Due to a budget constraint on workers, perpetuation is displayed differently in different social classes. This paper will therefore focus on the interaction between the different social classes and show how industrialization is linked to demographic transition.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University in its series Working Papers with number 2002-14.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2002-14

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Postal: Faculty of Social Sciences, Bar Ilan University 52900 Ramat-Gan
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Related research

Keywords: altruism; social classes; demographic transition; capital; proletariat; fertility; growth.;

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Cited by:
  1. Luc Arrondel & Cyril Grange, 2006. "Transmission and inequality of wealth: An empirical study of wealth mobility from 1800 to 1938 in France," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 209-232, August.
  2. Hillel Rapoport & Jean-Pierre Vidal, 2003. "Economic Growth and Endogenous Intergenerational Altruism," Working Papers 2003-04, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.


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