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Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as Birth Control in Pre-Transition England

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  • Francesco Cinnirella

    () (Ifo Institute–Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich
    Center for Economic Studies and ifo Institute (CESifo)
    Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
    Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE))

  • Marc Klemp

    () (University of Copenhagen
    Brown University
    Brown University)

  • Jacob Weisdorf

    () (Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
    Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)
    University of Southern Denmark)

Abstract

Abstract We use duration models on a well-known historical data set of more than 15,000 families and 60,000 births in England for the period 1540–1850 to show that the sampled families adjusted the timing of their births in accordance with the economic conditions as well as their stock of dependent children. The effects were larger among the lower socioeconomic ranks. Our findings on the existence of parity-dependent as well as parity-independent birth spacing in England are consistent with the growing evidence that marital birth control was present in pre-transitional populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Cinnirella & Marc Klemp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2017. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as Birth Control in Pre-Transition England," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(2), pages 413-436, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0556-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-017-0556-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Jeanne Cilliers & Martine Mariotti, 2017. "The Shaping of a Settler Fertility Transition: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century South African Demographic History Reconsidered," CEH Discussion Papers 08, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    3. repec:eee:deveco:v:131:y:2018:i:c:p:96-103 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Spacing; Birth intervals; Birth control; Fertility limitation; Preventive check;

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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