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Malthus to Modernity: England’s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800

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  • Gregory Clark
  • Neil Cummins

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

English fertility history is generally regarded as having been composed of two re-gimes: an era of unregulated marital fertility, from at least 1540 to 1890, then the modern era, with regulated marital fertility, lower for higher social classes. We show there were in fact three fertility regimes in England: a Malthusian regime which lasted from at least 1500 until 1780, where fertility was substantially higher for the rich, an intermediate regime from 1780 to 1890 with fertility undifferentiated by class, and finally the modern regime. Wealthy English men produced substantially fewer children within a generation of the onset of the Industrial Revolution, over 100 years before the classic demographic transition. At the same time the fertility of the poor increased. Determining what triggered this change, however, and why it coincided with the Industrial Revolution, will require further research.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1013.

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Length: 45
Date of creation: 10 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:10-13

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Keywords: Fertility Decline; Industrial Revolution; Income;

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References

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  1. Matteo Iacoviello & Stefano Neri, 2007. "Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from an Estimated DSGE Model," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 659, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 23 Oct 2009.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tom Vogl, 2013. "Differential Fertility, Human Capital, and Development," Working Papers 1452, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  2. Masako Kimura & Daishin Yasui, 2012. "Public Policy and the Income-Fertility Relationship in Economic Development," KIER Working Papers 834, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Franziska Tollnek & Joerg Baten, 2012. "Farmer Families at the Heart of the Educational Revolution: Which Occupational Group Inherited Human Capital in the Early Modern Era?," CEH Discussion Papers 008, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. Cinnirella, Francesco & Klemp, Marc P. B. & Weisdorf, Jacob L., 2013. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as a Preventive Check Mechanism in Pre-Modern England," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 174, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  5. repec:cge:warwcg:173 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Ragchaasuren Galindev, 2011. "Leisure goods, education attainment and fertility choice," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 157-181, June.
  7. Jason Collins & Oliver Richards, 2013. "Evolution, Fertility and the Ageing Population," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 13-02, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  8. Klemp, Marc P B & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2012. "Fecundity, Fertility and Family Reconstitution Data: The Child Quantity-Quality Trade-O Revisite," CEPR Discussion Papers 9121, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins, 2013. "Surnames and social mobility: England 1230-2012," Economic History Working Papers 54515, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  10. Masako Kimura & Daishin Yasui, 2012. "Public Policy and the Income-Fertility Relationship in Economic Development," Discussion Papers 1224, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
  11. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?," MPRA Paper 25467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Gregory Clark, 2012. "The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850 : Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 85-95, March.
  13. Jason Collins & Boris Baer & Ernst Juerg Weber, 2011. "Economic Growth And Evolution: Parental Preference For Quality And Quantity Of Offspring," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 11-05, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.

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