IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/dem/demres/v24y2011i14.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Family size and intergenerational social mobility during the fertility transition

Author

Listed:
  • Jan Van Bavel

    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

  • Sarah Moreels

    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

  • Bart Van de Putte

    (Ghent University)

  • Koen Matthijs

    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

Abstract

It has been argued in sociology, economics, and evolutionary anthropology that family size limitation enhances the intergenerational upward mobility chances in modernized societies. If parents have a large flock, family resources get diluted and intergenerational mobility is bound to head downwards. Yet, the empirical record supporting this resource dilution hypothesis is limited. This article investigates the empirical association between family size limitation and intergenerational mobility in an urban, late nineteenth century population in Western Europe. It uses life course data from the Belgian city of Antwerp between 1846 and 1920. Findings are consistent with the resource dilution hypothesis: after controlling for confounding factors, people with many children were more likely to end up in the lower classes. Yet, family size limitation was effective as a defensive rather than an offensive strategy: it prevented the next generation from going down rather than helping them to climb up the social ladder. Also, family size appears to have been particularly relevant for the middle classes. Implications for demographic transition theory are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Van Bavel & Sarah Moreels & Bart Van de Putte & Koen Matthijs, 2011. "Family size and intergenerational social mobility during the fertility transition," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 24(14), pages 313-344, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:24:y:2011:i:14
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol24/14/24-14.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Martin Dribe & Francesco Scalone, 2014. "Social class and net fertility before, during, and after the demographic transition: A micro-level analysis of Sweden 1880-1970," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(15), pages 429-464, February.
    3. Martin Dribe & Jan Van Bavel & Cameron Campbell, 2012. "Social mobility and demographic behaviour: Long term perspectives," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 26(8), pages 173-190, March.
    4. Anna Baranowska-Rataj & Xavier de Luna & Anneli Ivarsson, 2016. "Does the number of siblings affect health in midlife? Evidence from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(43), pages 1259-1302, November.
    5. Stefan Öberg, 2015. "Sibship size and height before, during, and after the fertility decline," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 32(2), pages 29-74, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    19th century; Belgium; demographic transition; fertility; parental investment; quantity-quality trade-off; resource dilution; social mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:24:y:2011:i:14. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Editorial Office) or (Christopher F Baum). General contact details of provider: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.