IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/auu/hpaper/062.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Structural Change and the Fertility Transition in the American South

Author

Listed:
  • Philipp Ager
  • Markus Brueckner
  • Benedikt Herz

Abstract

This paper provides new insights on the link between structural change and the fertility transi-tion. In the early 1890s agricultural production in the American South was severely impaired by the spread of an agricultural pest, the boll weevil. We use this plausibly exogenous variation in agricultural production to establish a causal link between changes in earnings opportunities in agriculture and fertility. Our estimates show that lower earnings opportunities in agriculture lead to fewer children. We identify two channels: households staying in agriculture reduced fertility because children are a normal good, and households switching to manufacturing faced higher opportunity costs of raising children. The lower earnings opportunities in agriculture also stimulated human capital formation, which we argue is consistent with the predictions of a quantity-quality model of fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp Ager & Markus Brueckner & Benedikt Herz, 2018. "Structural Change and the Fertility Transition in the American South," CEH Discussion Papers 01, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:062
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/ceh/WP201801.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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, France, revised Jan 2016.
    2. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    3. Carruthers, Celeste K. & Wanamaker, Marianne H., 2013. "Closing the gap? The effect of private philanthropy on the provision of African-American schooling in the U.S. south," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 53-67.
    4. Dan A. Black & Natalia Kolesnikova & Seth G. Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2013. "Are Children “Normal”?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 21-33, March.
    5. Price V. Fishback & Werner Troesken & Trevor Kollmann & Michael Haines & Paul W. Rhode & Melissa Thomasson, 2011. "Information and the Impact of Climate and Weather on Mortality Rates During the Great Depression," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present, pages 131-167 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Yvan St.-Pierre & Philip Merrigan, 1998. "An econometric and neoclassical analysis of the timing and spacing of births in Canada from 1950 to 1990," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 29-51.
    7. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Testing the Quantity-Quality Fertility Model: The Use of Twins as a Natural Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 227-240, January.
    8. Michael Bar & Oksana Leukhina, 2010. "Demographic Transition and Industrial Revolution: A Macroeconomic Investigation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 424-451, April.
    9. Hotz, V Joseph & Miller, Robert A, 1988. "An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 91-118, January.
    10. Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2002. "Were Compulsory Attendance and Child Labor Laws Effective? An Analysis from 1915 to 1939," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 401-435, October.
    11. Metzer, Jacob, 1975. "Rational management, modern business practices, and economies of scale in the ante-bellum southern plantations," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 123-150, April.
    12. Moshe Hazan & Binyamin Berdugo, 2002. "Child Labour, Fertility, and Economic Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 810-828, October.
    13. Raphaël Franck & Oded Galor, 2015. "The Complementary between Technology and Human Capital in the Early Phase of Industrialization," CESifo Working Paper Series 5485, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Avery Guest, 1981. "Social structure and U.S. inter-state fertility differentials in 1900," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 18(4), pages 465-486, November.
    15. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0581-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Wanamaker, Marianne H., 2012. "Industrialization and Fertility in the Nineteenth Century: Evidence from South Carolina," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(01), pages 168-196, March.
    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. Kubitza, Christoph & Gehrke, Esther, 2018. "Why does a labor-saving technology decrease fertility rates? Evidence from the oil palm boom in Indonesia," EFForTS Discussion Paper Series 22, University of Goettingen, Collaborative Research Centre 990 "EFForTS, Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems (Sumatra, Indonesia)".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility Transition; Structural Change; Industrialization; Agricultural Income;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:auu:hpaper:062. 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: http://edirc.repec.org/data/chanuau.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 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.

    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.