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The Child Quantity-Quality Trade-Off During the Industrial Revolution in England

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Author Info

  • Marc Klemp

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Jacob Weisdorf

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We take Gary Becker's child quantity-quality trade-off hypothesis to the historical record, investigating the causal link from family size to the literacy status of offspring using data from Anglican parish registers, c. 1700-1830. Extraordinarily forhistorical data, the parish records enable us to control for parental literacy, longevity and social class, as well as sex and birth order of offspring. In a world without modern contraception and among the couples whose children were not prenuptially conceived we are able to explore a novel source of exogenous variation in family size: marital fecundability as measured by the time interval from the marriage to the first birth. Consistent with previous findings among historical populations, we document a large and significantly negative effect of family size on children's literacy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 11-16.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1116

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Related research

Keywords: Child Quantity-Quality Trade-Off; Demographic Transition; Industrial Revolution; Instrumental Variable Analysis; Human Capital Formation;

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References

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The child quality/quantity trade-off in the Industrial Revolution
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-07-01 14:59:00
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Cited by:
  1. Marc Klemp & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis & Jacob Weisdorf, 2012. "Family Investment Strategies in Pre-modern Societies: Human Capital, Migration, and Birth Order in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century England," Working Papers 0018, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  2. Marc P. B. Klemp, 2012. "Prices, wages and fertility in pre-industrial England," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(1), pages 63-77, January.
  3. Jun, Bogang, 2013. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from the Korean Development Path," MPRA Paper 43971, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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