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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 P. B. Klemp, 2011. "Prices, Wages and Fertility in Pre-Industrial England," Discussion Papers 11-20, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Jun, Bogang, 2013. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from the Korean Development Path," MPRA Paper 43971, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. 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).

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