Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as a Preventive Check Mechanism in Pre-Modern England
We question the received wisdom that birth limitation was absent among historical populations before the fertility transition of the late nineteenth-century. Using duration and panel models on individual data, we find a causal negative effect of living standards on birth spacing in the three centuries preceding England's fertility transition. While the effect could be driven by biology in the case of the poor, a significant effect among the rich suggests that spacing worked as a control mechanism in pre-modern England. Our findings support the Malthusian preventive check hypothesis and rationalize England's historical leadership as a low population-pressure, high-wage economy.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Oded Galor, 2004.
"From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory,"
GE, Growth, Math methods
- Gregory Clark, 2005.
"The Condition of the Working-Class in England, 1209-2004,"
539, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Clark, Gregory & Cummins, Neil, 2010.
"Malthus to Modernity: England’s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800,"
25465, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins, 2010. "Malthus to Modernity: England’s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800," Working Papers 1013, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
- Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002.
"Malthus to Solow,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000.
"Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth,"
2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," Arbetsrapport 2000:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2009. "From Malthus to Solow: How did the Malthusian economy really evolve?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 68-93, March.
- Fabrice Murtin, 2013. "Long-Term Determinants of the Demographic Transition, 1870–2000," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 617-631, May.
- Nico Voigtlander & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2009.
"Malthusian Dynamism and the Rise of Europe: Make War, Not Love,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 248-54, May.
- Joachim Voth & Nico Voigtländer, 2009. "Malthusian dynamism and the rise of Europe: Make war, not love," Economics Working Papers 1185, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Tommy Bengtsson & Martin Dribe, 2006. "Deliberate control in a natural fertility population: Southern Sweden, 1766–1864," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 727-746, November.
- Boberg-Fazlic, Nina & Sharp, Paul & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2011.
"Survival of the richest? Social status, fertility and social mobility in England 1541-1824,"
European Review of Economic History,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 365-392, December.
- Nina Boberg-Fazlic & Paul Sharp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2011. "Survival of the Richest? Social Status, Fertility, and Social Mobility in England 1541-1824," Discussion Papers 11-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Marc Klemp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2012.
"The lasting damage to mortality of early-life adversity: evidence from the English famine of the late 1720s,"
European Review of Economic History,
Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 233-246, August.
- Marc Klemp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2011. "The Lasting Damage to Mortality of Early-Life Adversity: Evidence from the English Famine of the late 1720s," Discussion Papers 11-14, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Malthus, Thomas Robert, 1798. "An Essay on the Principle of Population," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number malthus1798.
- Oded Galor, 2005. "Unified Growth Theory," Development and Comp Systems 0504001, EconWPA.
- Douglas Anderton, 1989. "Comment on Knodel’s “starting, stopping, and spacing during the early stages of fertility transition”," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 467-470, August.
- John Knodel, 1987. "Starting, stopping, and spacing during the early stages of fertility transition: The experience of German village populations in the 18th and 19th centuries," Demography, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 143-162, May.
- E. A. Wrigley, 1966. "Family Limitation in Pre-Industrial England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 19(1), pages 82-109, 04.
- Kelly, Morgan & Ó Gráda, Cormac, 2012.
"The Preventive Check in Medieval and Preindustrial England,"
The Journal of Economic History,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 1015-1035, December.
- Morgan Kelly & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2011. "The Preventive Check in Medieval and Pre-industrial England," Working Papers 201110, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9116. 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: ()The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct email address
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.