IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/econjl/v132y2022i642p796-833..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Fertility and Modernity
[‘The consequences of radical reform: the French revolution’]

Author

Listed:
  • Enrico Spolaore
  • Romain Wacziarg

Abstract

We investigate the determinants of the fertility decline in Europe from 1830 to 1970 using a newly constructed data set of linguistic distances between European regions. The decline resulted from the gradual diffusion of new fertility behaviour from French-speaking regions to the rest of Europe. Societies with higher education, lower infant mortality, higher urbanisation and higher population density had lower levels of fertility during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, the fertility decline took place earlier in communities that were culturally closer to the French, while the fertility transition spread only later to societies that were more distant from the frontier. This is consistent with a process of social influence, whereby societies that were culturally closer to the French faced lower barriers to learning new information and adopting novel attitudes regarding fertility control.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2022. "Fertility and Modernity [‘The consequences of radical reform: the French revolution’]," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(642), pages 796-833.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:econjl:v:132:y:2022:i:642:p:796-833.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ej/ueab066
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Cantoni & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2011. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3286-3307, December.
    3. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2013. "How Deep Are the Roots of Economic Development?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 325-369, June.
    4. Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "The cultural diffusion of the fertility transition: evidence from internal migration in 19 th century France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01321952, HAL.
    5. Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2019. "Can Internal Migration Foster the Convergence in Regional Fertility Rates? Evidence from 19th Century France," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(620), pages 1618-1692.
    6. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2014. "Long-Term Barriers to Economic Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 3, pages 121-176, Elsevier.
    7. 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.
    8. Sascha Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The trade-off between fertility and education: evidence from before the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 177-204, September.
    9. Lesley Newson & Peter J. Richerson, 2009. "Why Do People Become Modern? A Darwinian Explanation," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(1), pages 117-158, March.
    10. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    11. Lecce, Giampaolo & Ogliari, Laura, 2019. "Institutional Transplant and Cultural Proximity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1060-1093, December.
    12. Brian Beach & W. Walker Hanlon, 2019. "Censorship, Family Planning, and the Historical Fertility Transition," NBER Working Papers 25752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2011. "The Historical Fertility Transition: A Guide for Economists," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 589-614, September.
    14. Diego Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2010. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 BC?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 65-97, July.
    15. Omer Moav, 2005. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 88-110, January.
    16. Timothy Guinnane & Barbara Okun & James Trussell, 1994. "What do we know about the timing of fertility transitions in europe?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(1), pages 1-20, February.
    17. Mara P. Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer, 2015. "Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1825-1883.
    18. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto Chong & Suzanne Duryea, 2012. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31, October.
    19. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization," Post-Print halshs-00754788, HAL.
    20. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-177, January.
    21. Alessandra Fogli & Laura Veldkamp, 2011. "Nature or Nurture? Learning and the Geography of Female Labor Force Participation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(4), pages 1103-1138, July.
    22. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
    23. A. Alesina & P. Giuliano., 2016. "Culture and Institutions," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 11.
    24. Enrico Spolaore (ed.), 2014. "Culture and Economic Growth," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 15204.
    25. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2008. "Occupational Choice and the Spirit of Capitalism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 747-793.
    26. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Bryony Reich, 2021. "Nation-Building and Education," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 131(638), pages 2273-2303.
    27. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Paul J.J. Welfens, 2011. "Innovations in Macroeconomics," Springer Books, Springer, number 978-3-642-11909-5, January.
    29. Matthias Doepke, 2005. "Child mortality and fertility decline: Does the Barro-Becker model fit the facts?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(2), pages 337-366, June.
    30. Fearon, James D, 2003. "Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
    31. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2016. "The Palgrave Handbook of Economics and Language," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/277408, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    32. Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & Susan Watkins, 2002. "Social networks and changes in contraceptive use over time: Evidence from a longitudinal study in rural Kenya," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(4), pages 713-738, November.
    33. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2010. "The power of the family," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 93-125, June.
    34. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    35. Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
    36. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2012. "The political economy of linguistic cleavages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 322-338.
    37. Guillaume Daudin, 2018. "Can internal migration foster the convergence in regional fertility rates? Evidence from 19th century France," Post-Print hal-03409060, HAL.
    38. John C. Brown & Timothy W. Guinnane, 2007. "Regions and time in the European fertility transition: problems in the Princeton Project’s statistical methodology1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(3), pages 574-595, August.
    39. Jeffrey Frankel & Christopher Pissarides, 2012. "NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2011," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fran11-1, June.
    40. David Cuberes & Alberto Basso, 2012. "Human Capital, Culture and the Onset of the Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2012024, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    41. Charles F. Manski & Joram Mayshar, 2003. "Private Incentives and Social Interactions: Fertility Puzzles in Israel," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 181-211, March.
    42. H. Peyton Young, 2009. "Innovation Diffusion in Heterogeneous Populations: Contagion, Social Influence, and Social Learning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1899-1924, December.
    43. Fabrice Murtin, 2013. "Long-Term Determinants of the Demographic Transition, 1870–2000," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 617-631, May.
    44. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9477, December.
    45. Hoyt Bleakley & Fabian Lange, 2009. "Chronic Disease Burden and the Interaction of Education, Fertility, and Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 52-65, February.
    46. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    47. Blanc, Guillaume & Wacziarg, Romain, 2020. "Change and persistence in the Age of Modernization: Saint-Germain-d’Anxure, 1730–1895," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Pascale Combes Motel & Jean-Louis Combes, 2022. "Que nous apprend la littérature récente sur la « nature et les causes de la richesse des nations » ?," Working Papers hal-03808732, HAL.
    2. Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2019. "Can Internal Migration Foster the Convergence in Regional Fertility Rates? Evidence from 19th Century France," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(620), pages 1618-1692.
    3. Papagni, Erasmo, 2018. "Fertility Transitions in Developing Countries: Convergence, Timing, and Causes," GLO Discussion Paper Series 248, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "The cultural diffusion of the fertility transition: evidence from internal migration in 19 th century France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01321952, HAL.
    5. Cai, Jie & Stoyanov, Andrey, 2016. "Population aging and comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 1-21.
    6. Chabé-Ferret, Bastien, 2019. "Adherence to cultural norms and economic incentives: Evidence from fertility timing decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 24-48.
    7. Faustine Perrin, 2022. "On the origins of the demographic transition: rethinking the European marriage pattern," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 16(3), pages 431-475, September.
    8. de la Croix, David & Perrin, Faustine, 2018. "How far can economic incentives explain the French fertility and education transition?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 221-245.
    9. Fabian Siuda & Uwe Sunde, 2021. "Disease and demographic development: the legacy of the plague," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-30, March.
    10. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2018. "Ancestry and development: New evidence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(5), pages 748-762, August.
    11. Tommy Murphy, 2015. "Old habits die hard (sometimes)," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 177-222, June.
    12. Enrico Spolaore, 2020. "Commanding Nature by Obeying Her: A Review Essay on Joel Mokyr's A Culture of Growth," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(3), pages 777-792, September.
    13. Brian Beach & W. Walker Hanlon, 2019. "Censorship, Family Planning, and the Historical Fertility Transition," NBER Working Papers 25752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Jean Louis COMBES & Pascale COMBES-MOTEL, 2022. "Que nous apprend la littérature récente sur la "nature et les causes de la richesse des nations"?," LEO Working Papers / DR LEO 2955, Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans.
    15. Andrew Dickens, 2018. "Population relatedness and cross-country idea flows: evidence from book translations," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 367-386, December.
    16. Connor, Dylan, 2021. "In the name of the father? Fertility, religion and child naming in the demographic transition," SocArXiv jndqu, Center for Open Science.
    17. Johnson, Noel, 2015. "Taxes, National Identity, and Nation Building: Evidence from France," MPRA Paper 63598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Robert TAMURA & David CUBERES, 2020. "Equilibrium and A-efficient Fertility with Increasing Returns to Population and Endogenous Mortality," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 157-182, June.
    19. Youssouf Merouani & Faustine Perrin, 2022. "Gender and the long-run development process. A survey of the literature [Rethinking age heaping: A cautionary tale from nineteenth-century Italy]," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(4), pages 612-641.
    20. Diebolt, Claude & Mishra, Tapas & Perrin, Faustine, 2021. "Gender empowerment as an enforcer of individuals’ choice between education and fertility: Evidence from 19th century France," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 408-438.
    21. Le Bris, David, 2020. "Family Characteristics and Economic Development," MPRA Paper 105325, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2013. "How Deep Are the Roots of Economic Development?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 325-369, June.
    2. Madsen, Jakob Brøchner & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Testing unified growth theory: Technological progress and the child quantity-quality tradeoff," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 393, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Tommy Murphy, 2015. "Old habits die hard (sometimes)," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 177-222, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Sascha Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The trade-off between fertility and education: evidence from before the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 177-204, September.
    6. Oded Galor, 2012. "The demographic transition: causes and consequences," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(1), pages 1-28, January.
    7. Thomas Baudin & Robert Stelter, 2022. "The rural exodus and the rise of Europe," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 365-414, September.
    8. Vincent Bignon & Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa, 2018. "The Toll of Tariffs: Protectionism, Education and Fertility in Late 19th Century France," Working papers 690, Banque de France.
    9. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2014. "Long-Term Barriers to Economic Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 3, pages 121-176, Elsevier.
    10. Jun, Bogang, 2013. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from the Korean Development Path," MPRA Paper 43971, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Oded Galor & Quamrul Ashraf, 2007. "Cultural Assimilation, Cultural Diffusion and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," Working Papers 2007-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    12. Tiloka de Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2017. "The Large Fall in Global Fertility: A Quantitative Model," Discussion Papers 1718, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    13. Youssouf Merouani & Faustine Perrin, 2022. "Gender and the long-run development process. A survey of the literature [Rethinking age heaping: A cautionary tale from nineteenth-century Italy]," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(4), pages 612-641.
    14. Adams, Jonathan J., 2022. "Urbanization, long-run growth, and the demographic transition," Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 31-77, March.
    15. Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2019. "Can Internal Migration Foster the Convergence in Regional Fertility Rates? Evidence from 19th Century France," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(620), pages 1618-1692.
    16. Blanc, Guillaume & Wacziarg, Romain, 2020. "Change and persistence in the Age of Modernization: Saint-Germain-d’Anxure, 1730–1895," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    17. Nguyen Thang Dao & Julio Dávila & Angela Greulich, 2021. "The education gender gap and the demographic transition in developing countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(2), pages 431-474, April.
    18. Dierk Herzer & Holger Strulik & Sebastian Vollmer, 2012. "The long-run determinants of fertility: one century of demographic change 1900–1999," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 357-385, December.
    19. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2013. "The history augmented Solow model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 134-149.
    20. Claude Diebolt & Audrey-Rose Menard & Faustine Perrin, 2016. "Behind the Fertility-Education Nexus: What Triggered the French Development Process?," Working Papers of BETA 2016-10, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - 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:oup:econjl:v:132:y:2022:i:642:p:796-833.. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/resssea.html .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press or (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/resssea.html .

    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.