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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. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Pablo A. Guerrón-Quintana & Juan Rubio-Ramírez & Martín Uribe, 2009. "Risk Matters: The Real Effects of Volatility Shocks," NBER Working Papers 14875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Gregory Clark & Gillian Hamilton, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers 615, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?," MPRA Paper 25467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. 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.
  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. 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..
  5. Cinnirella, Francesco & Klemp, Marc P B & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2012. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as a Preventive Check Mechanism in Pre-Modern England," CEPR Discussion Papers 9116, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. repec:cge:warwcg:173 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. 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.
  8. Ragchaasuren Galindev, 2011. "Leisure goods, education attainment and fertility choice," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 157-181, June.
  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," KIER Working Papers 834, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Masako Kimura & Daishin Yasui, 2012. "Public Policy and the Income-Fertility Relationship in Economic Development," Discussion Papers 1224, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
  12. 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.
  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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