IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cda/wpaper/229.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England

Author

Listed:
  • Gregory Clark
  • Gillian Hamilton

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

Fundamental to the Malthusian model of pre-industrial society is the assumption that higher income increased reproductive success. Despite the seemingly inescapable logic of this model, the empirical support for this vital assumption in the preindustrial world is weak. Here we examine the relationship between income and net fertility using a large new cross-sectional data set on reproductive success, social status and income for England between 1585 and 1638. We find that for early seventeenth century England, a society seemingly close to a Malthusian equilibrium, wealth at death robustly predicts reproductive success. The richest male testators left behind double the number of children of the poorest. Consequently in the static English economy of this period social mobility was generally downwards. The strong association in England between wealth and reproductive success seems to also extend back to at least 1250.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory Clark & Gillian Hamilton, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers 229, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:229
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://repec.dss.ucdavis.edu/files/qDAbKczR6SS9fx8kpkGuEArg/06-15.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Miller, Merton H. & Upton, Charles W., 1986. "Macroeconomics," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226526232, Febrero.
    4. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
    5. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    6. Clark, Gregory, 2002. "Shelter From The Storm: Housing And The Industrial Revolution, 1550–1909," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 489-511, June.
    7. Weir, David R., 1995. "Family Income, Mortality, and Fertility on the Eve of the Demographic Transition: A Case Study of Rosny-Sous-Bois," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-26, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Clark, Gregory & Hamilton, Gillian, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 707-736, September.
    2. Nils‐Petter Lagerlöf & Thomas Tangerås, 2008. "From rent seeking to human capital: a model where resource shocks cause transitions from stagnation to growth," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(3), pages 760-780, August.
    3. Broadberry Stephen, 2012. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Very Long Run Growth: A Historical Appraisal," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 53(1), pages 277-306, May.
    4. Marina E. Adshade, 2009. "The Rich Are Different From The Rest Of Us," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(4), pages 959-967, December.
    5. Clark, Gregory, 2014. "The Industrial Revolution," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 5, pages 217-262, Elsevier.
    6. Jakob B. Madsen & Fabrice Murtin, 2017. "British economic growth since 1270: the role of education," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 229-272, September.
    7. Madsen, Jakob B. & Robertson, Peter E. & Ye, Longfeng, 2019. "Malthus was right: Explaining a millennium of stagnation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 51-68.
    8. Jason Collins & Boris Baer & Ernst Juerg Weber, 2016. "Evolutionary Biology in Economics: A Review," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(297), pages 291-312, June.
    9. Brian Snowdon, 2008. "Towards a Unified Theory of Economic Growth," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 9(2), pages 97-151, April.
    10. Lehmann-Hasemeyer, Sibylle H. & Prettner, Klaus & Tscheuschner, Paul, 2020. "The scientific revolution and its role in the transition to sustained economic growth," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 06-2020, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    11. Mark Koyama, 2009. "The Price of Time and Labour Supply: From the Black Death to the Industrious Revolution," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _078, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    12. Rohan Dutta & David K. Levine & Nicholas W. Papageorge & Lemin Wu, 2018. "Entertaining Malthus: Bread, Circuses, And Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(1), pages 358-380, January.
    13. Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "The Three Horsemen of Riches: Plague, War, and Urbanization in Early Modern Europe," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 774-811.
    14. Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins, 2015. "Malthus to modernity: wealth, status, and fertility in England, 1500–1879," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(1), pages 3-29, January.
    15. Ho, Chi Pui, 2016. "Industrious Selection: Explaining Five Revolutions and Two Divergences in Eurasian Economic History within a Unified Growth Framework," MPRA Paper 73862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Francesco Cinnirella & Marc P. B. Klemp & Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2012. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as a Preventive Check Mechanism in Pre-Modern England," CESifo Working Paper Series 3936, CESifo.
    17. Jane Humphries & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Unreal Wages? Real Income and Economic Growth in England, 1260–1850," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(623), pages 2867-2887.
    18. Cummins, Neil, 2020. "The micro-evidence for the Malthusian system. France, 1670–1840," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    19. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    20. Nico Voigtl?nder & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "How the West "Invented" Fertility Restriction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2227-2264, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    england and economy;

    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:cda:wpaper:229. 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: (Letters and Science IT Services Unit). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/educdus.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.