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Picking Winners? The Effect of Birth Order and Migration on Parental Human Capital Investments in Pre-Modern England

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  • Marc Klemp
  • Chris Minns
  • Patrick Wallis
  • Jacob Weisdorf

    (University of Copenhagen, LSE, and University of Southern Denmark)

Abstract

This paper uses linked apprenticeship-family reconstitution records to explore the influence of family structure on human capital formation in preindustrial England. We observe a small but significant relationship between birth order, resources and human capital investments. Among the gentry, eldest sons were almost never apprenticed. Outside the gentry, a large number of apprentices were eldest sons, even from farming families. This Implies a relatively large place for a child’s aptitude and interest in shaping their career compared to custom or inheritance practices, making the “middling sorts” behave much more as families do in presentday labour studies than the contemporary elites. We also find a surprisingly high rate of return migration, questioning the emphasis on neo-locality and suggesting that parents could anticipate benefiting directly from positive externalities arising from the training provided to children. This interpretation also fits well with our finding that if parents had died before indenture, apprentices were significantly less likely to return home.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History in its series Working Papers with number 0037.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0037

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Postal: University of Utrecht, Drift 10, The Netherlands
Web page: http://www.cgeh.nl
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Related research

Keywords: Apprenticeship; Family Structure; Human Capital; Preindustrial England; Primogeniture;

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References

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  1. Gregory Clark & Gillian Hamilton, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers 615, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Nina Boberg-Fazlic & Paul Sharp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2011. "Survival of the Richest? Social Status, Fertility, and Social Mobility in England 1541-1824," Discussion Papers 11-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. de Vries, Jan, 1994. "The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 249-270, June.
  4. Alan Fernihough, 2011. "Human Capital and the Quantity-Quality Trade-Off during the Demographic Transition: New Evidence from Ireland," Working Papers 201113, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  5. Humphries,Jane, 2010. "Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521847568, April.
  6. Wallis, Patrick, 2008. "Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 832-861, September.
  7. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, 02.
  8. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-89, December.
  9. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2011. "Why did (pre‐industrial) firms train?: premiums and apprenticeship contracts in 18th century England," Economic History Working Papers 41348, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  10. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," CESifo Working Paper Series 2775, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, . "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  12. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2012. "Rules and reality: quantifying the practice of apprenticeship in early modern England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 556-579, 05.
  13. Dribe, Martin, 2003. "Dealing with economic stress through migration: Lessons from nineteenth century rural Sweden," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(03), pages 271-299, December.
  14. Tim Leunig & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2009. "Networks in the premodern economy: the market for London apprenticeships, 1600-1749," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28686, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  15. Patrick Wallis & Cliff Webb & Chris Minns, 2009. "Leaving home and entering service: the age of apprenticeship in early modern London," Economic History Working Papers 27873, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  16. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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