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Human Genealogy Reveals a Selective Advantage to Moderate Fecundity

Author

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  • Oded Galor
  • Marc Klemp

Abstract

"This research presents the first evidence that moderate fecundity had maximized long-run reproductive success in the human population. Using a reconstructed genealogy for nearly half a million individuals in Quebec during the 1608–1800 period, we find that while a high fecundity was associated with a larger number of children, perhaps paradoxically, a moderate fecundity had maximized the number of descendants after several generations. Moreover, the finding suggests that the level of fecundity that maximized long-run reproductive success was above the population average, indicating that natural selection had decreased the level of fecundity in the population over this period. This evolutionary process may have contributed to the onset of the demographic transition and thus to the evolution of societies to an era of sustained economic growth."

Suggested Citation

  • Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2019. "Human Genealogy Reveals a Selective Advantage to Moderate Fecundity," Working Papers 2019-1, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2019-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2014. "Measuring the Impacts of Teachers I: Evaluating Bias in Teacher Value-Added Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2593-2632, September.
    4. Jorge M. Agüero & Mindy S. Marks, 2011. "Motherhood and Female Labor Supply in the Developing World: Evidence from Infertility Shocks," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(4), pages 800-826.
    5. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jecgro:v:24:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s10887-019-09170-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Karen A. Kopecky, 2019. "The Wife's Protector: The Effect of Contraception on Marriage during the 20th Century," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 31, Economie d'Avant Garde.
    3. repec:spr:demogr:v:56:y:2019:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-019-00787-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. David de la Croix & Eric B. Schneider & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Childlessness, celibacy and net fertility in pre-industrial England: the middle-class evolutionary advantage," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 223-256, September.
    5. repec:kap:jecgro:v:24:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s10887-019-09168-0 is not listed on IDEAS

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