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Fecundity, Fertility and Family Reconstitution Data: The Child Quantity-Quality Trade-O Revisite

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  • Klemp, Marc P B
  • Weisdorf, Jacob

Abstract

Growth theorists have recently argued that western nations grew rich by parents substituting child quantity (number of births) for child quality (education). Using family reconstitution data from historical England, we explore the causal link between family size and human capital of offspring measured by their literacy status and professional skills. We use a proxy of marital fecundity to instrument family size, finding that children of couples of low fecundity (and hence small families) were more likely to become literate and employed in a skilled profession than those born to couples of high fecundity (and hence large families). Robust to a variety of specifications, our findings are unusually supportive of the notion of a child quantity-quality trade-off, suggesting this could well have played a key role for the wealth of nations.

Suggested Citation

  • Klemp, Marc P B & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2012. "Fecundity, Fertility and Family Reconstitution Data: The Child Quantity-Quality Trade-O Revisite," CEPR Discussion Papers 9121, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9121
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Blum, Matthias & Strebel, Matthias, 2016. "Max Weber and the First World War: Protestant and Catholic living standards in Germany, 1915–1919," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 699-719, September.
    2. Battaglia, Marianna & Chabé-Ferret, Bastien & Lebedinski, Lara, 2017. "Segregation and Fertility: The Case of the Roma in Serbia," IZA Discussion Papers 10929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Carol H. Shiue, 2017. "Human capital and fertility in Chinese clans before modern growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 351-396, December.
    4. David de la Croix & Faustine Perrin, 2016. "French Fertility and Education Transition: Rational Choice vs. Cultural Diffusion," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. David de la Croix & Clara Delavallade, 2015. "Religions, Fertility and Growth in South-East Asia," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2015002, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    6. Pleijt, Alexandra M. de & Nuvolari, Alessandro & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2016. "Human Capital Formation during the First Industrial Revolution: Evidence from the Use of Steam Engines," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 294, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    7. Casey, Gregory & Galor, Oded, 2014. "Population Dynamics and Long-Run Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 62598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Tommy Murphy, 2015. "Old habits die hard (sometimes)," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 177-222, June.
    9. Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "The cultural diffusion of the fertility transition: evidence from internal migration in 19 th century France," Working Papers halshs-01321952, HAL.
    10. Timothy J. Hatton, 2015. "Stature and Sibship: Historical Evidence," CEH Discussion Papers 039, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    11. Brezis, Elise S. & Ferreira, Rodolphe Dos Santos, 2016. "Endogenous Fertility With A Sibship Size Effect," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(08), pages 2046-2066, December.
    12. Alan Fernihough & Mark McGovern, 2014. "Do fertility transitions influence infant mortality declines? Evidence from early modern Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(4), pages 1145-1163, October.
    13. Tepper, Alexander & Borowiecki, Karol Jan, 2015. "Accounting for breakout in Britain: The industrial revolution through a Malthusian lens," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 219-233.
    14. Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "The cultural diffusion of the fertility transition: evidence from internal migration in 19 th century France," PSE - G-MOND WORKING PAPERS halshs-01321952, HAL.
    15. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-01321952 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child Quantity-Quality Trade-Off; Demographic Transition; Human Capital Formation; Industrial Revolution; Instrumental Variable Analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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