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The Western European marriage pattern and economic development

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  • Foreman-Peck, James

Abstract

For several centuries before the First World War women's age at first marriage in the west of Europe was higher than in the east (and in the rest of the world). In their low mortality regimes Western Europeans chose lower fertility in part through a higher female age at marriage. This allowed women to increase their human capital both formally and informally in the years before child bearing so that more informed mothers brought up better educated offspring. The demographic pattern influenced the stock of human capital and directly contributed to Western Europe's development advantage. The predicted relations of this economic model of the household are tested with two datasets, one at the county level for England for the second half of the nineteenth century and the other at the national level for Europe 1870-1910.

Suggested Citation

  • Foreman-Peck, James, 2011. "The Western European marriage pattern and economic development," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 292-309, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:292-309
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    Cited by:

    1. David de la Croix & Eric B. Schneider & Jacob Weisdorf, 2017. ""Decessit sine prole" Childlessness, Celibacy, and Survival of the Richest in Pre-Industrial England," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2017001, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. Nico Voigtl?nder & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "How the West "Invented" Fertility Restriction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2227-2264, October.
    3. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2016. "Origins and implications of family structure across Italian provinces in historical perspective," Department of Economics 0095, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    4. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2013. "Does women's education affect fertility? Evidence from pre-demographic transition Prussia," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 24-44, February.
    5. Bertocchi, Graziella & Bozzano, Monica, 2016. "Origins and implications of family structure across Italian provinces in historical perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 11617, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Alexander Stimpfle & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Marriage Age Affects Educational Gender Inequality: International Evidence," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    7. Dincecco, Mark & Katz, Gabriel, 2012. "State Capacity and Long-Run Performance," MPRA Paper 38299, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2015. "Family Structure and the Education Gender Gap: Evidence from Italian Provinces," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 263-300.
    9. Francesco Cinnirella & Erik Hornung, 2016. "Land Inequality, Education, and Marriage: Empirical Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 6072, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Kelly, Morgan & Ó Gráda, Cormac, 2012. "The Preventive Check in Medieval and Preindustrial England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 1015-1035, December.
    11. Dennison, Tracy & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2014. "Does the European Marriage Pattern Explain Economic Growth?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(03), pages 651-693, September.
    12. Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Carus, A.W., 2014. "Institutions and Economic Growth in Historical Perspective," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 403-513 Elsevier.
    13. Mikołaj Szołtysek & Radoslaw Poniat & Sebastian Klüsener & Siegfried Gruber, 2017. "Family organisation and human capital inequalities in historic Europe: testing the association anew," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-012, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    14. Ken Tabata, 2013. "The Expansion of the Commercial Sector and the Child Quantity-Quality Transition in a Malthusian World," Discussion Paper Series 105, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2013.
    15. Silvana Maubrigades, 2015. "Connections between women`s age at marriage and social and economic development," Documentos de trabajo 39, Programa de Historia Económica, FCS, Udelar.
    16. Brezis, Elise S., 2010. "Can demographic transition only be explained by altruistic and neo-Malthusian models?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 233-240, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human capital Household production Economic development 19th century Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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