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Malthus to Modernity: England’s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800

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  • Clark, Gregory
  • Cummins, Neil

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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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 25465.

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Date of creation: 10 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25465

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Keywords: Demographic Transition in England;

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  1. Gregory Clark & Gillian Hamilton, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics 615, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Iacoviello, Matteo & Minetti, Raoul, 2008. "The credit channel of monetary policy: Evidence from the housing market," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 69-96, March.
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  5. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M & Tamura, Robert, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S12-37, October.
  6. Matteo Iacoviello & Stefano Neri, 2008. "Housing market spillovers : evidence from an estimated DSGE model," Working Paper Research, National Bank of Belgium 145, National Bank of Belgium.
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  18. Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins, 2009. "Urbanization, Mortality, and Fertility in Malthusian England," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 242-47, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Jason Collins & Boris Baer & Ernst Juerg Weber, 2011. "Economic Growth And Evolution: Parental Preference For Quality And Quantity Of Offspring," Economics Discussion / Working Papers, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics 11-05, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  2. 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, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University 008, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  3. Ragchaasuren Galindev, 2011. "Leisure goods, education attainment and fertility choice," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 157-181, June.
  4. Klemp, Marc P B & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2012. "Fecundity, Fertility and Family Reconstitution Data: The Child Quantity-Quality Trade-O Revisite," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 9121, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Jason Collins & Oliver Richards, 2013. "Evolution, Fertility and the Ageing Population," Economics Discussion / Working Papers, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics 13-02, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  6. 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, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 9116, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Clark, Gregory, 2010. "The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?," MPRA Paper 25467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Gregory Clark, 2012. "The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850 : Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 85-95, March.
  9. Tom Vogl, 2013. "Differential Fertility, Human Capital, and Development," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. 1452, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  10. Masako Kimura & Daishin Yasui, 2012. "Public Policy and the Income-Fertility Relationship in Economic Development," KIER Working Papers, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research 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. Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins, 2013. "Surnames and social mobility: England 1230-2012," Economic History Working Papers, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History 54515, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.

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