When Smaller Families Look Contagious: A Spatial Look At The French Fertility Decline Using An Agent-Based Simulation Model
AbstractDespite some disagreements about specific timing, it is now widely accepted that France was the first European country to experience a systematic decline in fertility, a decline that took place in a very distinctive geographical pattern. Whereas two areas of low birth rates (the Seine valley and the Aquitaine region) kept spreading, two ‘islands’ of high fertility (Bretagne and the Massif Central) shrank until they more or less disappeared in the early 1900s. In an attempt to provide a sensible explanation of this pattern, we build an agent-based simulation model which incorporates both historical data on population characteristics and spatial information on the geography of France, and allows us to study the role of social influence in fertility decisions. We assess how different behavioural assumptions and network topologies cause variations in diffusion patterns, using quantitative data on the Ecclesiastical Oath of 1791 to proxy for the impact the Revolution. Analysis of several simulations shows that a combination of both endogenous and exogenous factors help to explain the way in which the diffusion took place and suggests some of the mechanisms through which this was materialised.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Oxford University Economic and Social History Series with number _071.
Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 02 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/
Economic history; demographic history (Europe pre-1913); France; demographic economics; fertility; simulation models (agent-based); diffusion.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-04-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-CMP-2009-04-13 (Computational Economics)
- NEP-URE-2009-04-13 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Tommy E. Murphy, 2010. "Old Habits Die Hard (Sometimes) Can département heterogeneity tell us something about the French fertility decline??," Working Papers 364, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- Paul A. David & S. Ryan Johansson & Andrea Pozzi, 2010.
"The Demography of an Early Mortality Transition: Life Expectancy, Survival and Mortality Rates for Britain's Royals, 1500-1799,"
Oxford University Economic and Social History Series
_083, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Paul David & S. Ryan Johansson and Andrea Pozzi, 2010. "The Demography of an Early Mortality Transition: Life Expectancy, Survival and Mortality Rates for Britain's Royals, 1500-1799," Economics Series Working Papers Number 83, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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