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Prudence and Pressure: Reproduction and Human Agency in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900

Author

Listed:
  • Noriko O. Tsuya

    (Keio University, Tokyo)

  • Wang Feng

    () (University of California, Irvine)

  • George Alter

    () (University of Michigan)

  • James Z. Lee

    () (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

This pioneering study reconceptualizes the impact of social organizations, economic conditions, and human agency on human reproduction in preindustrial communities in Europe and Asia. Unlike previous studies, in which Asia is meeasured by European standards, Prudence and Pressure develops a Eurasian perspective. Drawing on rich new data and the tools of event-history analysis, the authors challenge the accepted Eurocentric Malthusian view that attributes "prudence" (smaller families due to late marriage) to the preindustrial West and "pressure" (high mortality due to overpopulation) to the East, showing instead important similarities between Europe and Asia in human motivation and population behavior. The authors analyze age, gender, family and household, kinship, social class and power, religion, culture, and economic resources in order to compare reproductive strategies and outcomes. They reveal underlying similarities between East and West in two major components of the reproductive regime—marriage and childbearing—and offer evidence showing that preindustrial reproduction was motivated and governed by human agency at least as much as by human biology. Prudence and Pressure is part of a large-scale interdisciplinary effort to use new data and methods to re-examine the Malthusian paradigm of population growth. It represents a significant advance in the fields of historical demography, history, and sociology. Eurasian Population and Family History series

Suggested Citation

  • Noriko O. Tsuya & Wang Feng & George Alter & James Z. Lee, 2010. "Prudence and Pressure: Reproduction and Human Agency in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262013525, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262013525
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy W. Guinnane & Sheilagh C. Ogilvie, 2013. "A Two-Tiered Demographic System: "Insiders" and "Outsiders" in Three Swabian Communities, 1558-1914," Working Papers 1021, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    2. Martin Dribe & Michel Oris & Lucia Pozzi, 2014. "Socioeconomic status and fertility before, during, and after the demographic transition: An introduction," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(7), pages 161-182, July.
    3. Dennison, Tracy & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2014. "Does the European Marriage Pattern Explain Economic Growth?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(03), pages 651-693, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Europe; Asia; economic history; population growth; historical demography; human reproduction;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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