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The Western European Marriage Pattern and Economic Development

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  • Foreman-Peck, James

    ()
    (Cardiff Business School)

Abstract

For several centuries, women's age at first marriage in Western Europe was higher than in the east (and in the rest of the world). Over the same period Western Europe began slow but sustained economic development relative to elsewhere. A model based on the economics of the household explains this association in two related ways. Both connect mortality, and the exercise of fertility restraint through higher marriage age, with greater human capital accumulation. The first explanation is simply an association but the second proposes a causal link where higher age of motherhood reduced the cost of investment in children. Evidence is provided that the causal process was operative in later nineteenth century Europe

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section in its series Cardiff Economics Working Papers with number E2009/15.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdf:wpaper:2009/15

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Keywords: Human Capital; Household Production; Economic Development; 19th Century Europe;

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Cited by:
  1. Tracy Dennison & Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2013. "Does the European Marriage Pattern Explain Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 4244, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. 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.
  3. Nico Voigtländer and Hans-Joachim Voth, 2010. "How the West ’Invented’ Fertility Restriction," Working Papers 525, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2013. "Family Structure and the Education Gender Gap: Evidence from Italian Provinces," CESifo Working Paper Series 4460, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Dincecco, Mark & Katz, Gabriel, 2012. "State Capacity and Long-Run Performance," MPRA Paper 38299, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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