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Intermarriage in a divided society: Ireland a century ago

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  • Fernihough, Alan
  • Ó Gráda, Cormac
  • Walsh, Brendan M.

Abstract

This paper explores the characteristics associated with marriages between Roman Catholics and members of other religious denominations in Ireland before the Great War. Using the entire digitized returns of the 1911 population census, we find that such marriages were relatively rare, occurring in less than 1% of total marriages. Some of this infrequency can be attributed to ethno-religious hostility—especially in the north of the country. However, we also show that the rarity of intermarriage reflects local marriage markets, as non-Roman Catholics living in communities with fewer coreligionists were more likely to intermarry. We examine the individual characteristics of partners in these marriages, looking at the religious denomination of their children, their decision to marry out, and their fertility behavior. Our findings illustrate how the frequency of intermarriage reflects historical levels of intolerance, but only after local marriage market conditions have been accounted for.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernihough, Alan & Ó Gráda, Cormac & Walsh, Brendan M., 2015. "Intermarriage in a divided society: Ireland a century ago," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:56:y:2015:i:c:p:1-14
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2014.11.002
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fernihough, Alan & Ó Gráda, Cormac, 2018. "Population and poverty in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2018-13, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    2. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2019. "Economic History: «An Isthmus Joining Two Great Continents»?," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 81-120.
    3. Alan Fernihough, 2017. "Human capital and the quantity–quality trade-off during the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 35-65, March.
    4. Connor, Dylan, 2021. "In the name of the father? Fertility, religion and child naming in the demographic transition," SocArXiv jndqu, Center for Open Science.
    5. Hannes Mueller & Dominic Rohner, 2018. "Can power-sharing foster peace? Evidence from Northern Ireland," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 33(95), pages 447-484.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mixed marriage; Historical population; Religion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N83 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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