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Old habits die hard (sometimes)

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Abstract

Unified growth theory suggests the fertility decline was crucial for achieving long-term growth, yet the causes behind that decline are still not entirely clear from an empirical point of view. In particular for France, the first country to experience this demographic transition in the European context, the reasons why some areas of the country had lower fertility than others are poorly understood. Using département level data for the last quarter of the nineteenth century, this paper exploits the French regional variation to study the correlates of fertility, estimating various fixed-effects models. The findings confirm the importance of some of the forces suggested by standard fertility choice models. Education in general, female education in particular, for example, seems to be crucial. Results also highlight the relevance of non-economic factors (such as secularisation), for which I provide new measurements. The presence of spatial dependence also suggests that diffusion of fertility played a particular role. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Tommy Murphy, 2015. "Old habits die hard (sometimes)," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 177-222, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:20:y:2015:i:2:p:177-222
    DOI: 10.1007/s10887-015-9111-6
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Carol H. Shiue, 2017. "Human capital and fertility in Chinese clans before modern growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 351-396, December.
    3. Claude Diebolt & Tapas Mishra & Faustine Perrin, 2015. "Did Gender-Bias Matter in the Quantity-Quality Trade-off in the 19th Century France?," Working Papers 04-15, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
    4. Alberto Basso, 2015. "Does Democracy Foster the Fertility Transition?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 459-474, November.
    5. David de la Croix & Faustine Perrin, 2016. "French Fertility and Education Transition: Rational Choice vs. Cultural Diffusion," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    6. Diebolt, Claude & Mishra, Tapas & Perrin, Faustine, 2015. "Did Gender-Bias Matter in the Quantity-Quality Trade-off in 19th Century France?," Lund Papers in Economic History 141, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    7. Vincent Bignon & Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa, 2016. "Protectionism and the Education-Fertility Trade-off in Late 19th Century France," AMSE Working Papers 1604, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Jan 2016.
    8. 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.
    9. Guinnane, Timothy W> & Martinez Rodriguez, Susana, 2012. "For Every Law, a Loophole: Flexibility in the Menu of Spanish Business Forms, 1886-1936," Working Papers 103, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    10. Fernihough, Alan, 2017. "Less is More? The child quantity-quality trade-off in early 20th century England and Wales," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2017-07, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    11. Ho, Chi Pui, 2016. "Rise of Women in Unified Growth Theory: French Development Process and Policy Implications," MPRA Paper 73864, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. repec:oxf:wpaper:71.2 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. You, Jing & Yi, Xuejie & Chen, Meng, 2016. "Love, Life, and “Leftover Ladies” in Urban China," MPRA Paper 70494, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Neil Shephard & Ole E. Barndorff-Nielsen, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Realised Volatility and Its Use in Estimating Stochastic Volatility Models," Economics Series Working Papers 71, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic history; Nineteenth-century France; Fertility transition; N33; J13;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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