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Malthus Was Right after All: Poor Relief and Birth Rates in Southeastern England

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  • Boyer, George R

Abstract

The payment of child allowances to laborers with large families was widespread in early nineteenth-century England. This paper tests Thomas Malthus's hypothesis that child allowances caused the birth rate to increase. A cross-sectional regression model is estimated to explain variations in birth rates across parishes in 1826-30. Birth rates are found to be related to child allowances, income, and the availability of housing, as Malthus contended. The paper concludes by examining the role played by the adoption of child allowances after 1795 in the fertility increase of the early nineteenth century. Copyright 1989 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyer, George R, 1989. "Malthus Was Right after All: Poor Relief and Birth Rates in Southeastern England," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 93-114, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:97:y:1989:i:1:p:93-114
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    1. repec:eee:deveco:v:130:y:2018:i:c:p:33-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis, 1997. "The problem of population and growth: A review of the literature from Malthus to contemporary models of endogenous population and endogenous growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 205-242, January.
    3. Charles F. Manski & Joram Mayshar, 2002. "Private and Social Incentives for Fertility: Israeli Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Morgan Kelly & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2014. "Living standards and mortality since the middle ages," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(2), pages 358-381, May.
    5. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "Natural Selection and the Evolution of Life Expectancy," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409004, EconWPA.
    6. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweim�ller, "undated". "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a �True Natural Experiment�," IEW - Working Papers 242, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Evolution and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 718-729, May.
    8. Gregory Clark & Marianne Page, 2008. "Welfare Reform, 1834," Working Papers 87, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    9. Ito, Takahiro & Tanaka, Shinsuke, 2018. "Abolishing user fees, fertility choice, and educational attainment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 33-44.
    10. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a "True Natural Experiment"," IZA Discussion Papers 1613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. 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.
    12. repec:hir:idecdp:3-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Bester, Helmut & Guth, Werner, 1998. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 193-209, February.
    14. Yew, Siew Ling & Zhang, Jie, 2009. "Optimal social security in a dynastic model with human capital externalities, fertility and endogenous growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 605-619, April.
    15. Guy Stecklov & Paul Winters & Jessica Todd & Ferdinando Regalia, 2006. "Demographic Externalities from Poverty Programs in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Latin America," Working Papers 2006-01, American University, Department of Economics.

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