IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ctl/louvir/2017001.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

"Decessit sine prole" Childlessness, Celibacy, and Survival of the Richest in Pre-Industrial England

Author

Listed:
  • David de la Croix

    () (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))

  • Eric B. Schneider

    () (London School of Economics and CEPR)

  • Jacob Weisdorf

    () (University of Southern Denmark and CEPR)

Abstract

Previous work has shown that England's pre-industrial elites had more surviving off-spring than their lower-class counterparts. This evidence was used to argue that the spread of upper-class values via downward social mobility helped England grow rich. We contest this view, showing that the lower classes outperformed the rich in terms of reproduction once singleness and childlessness are accounted for. Indeed, Merchants, Professionals and Gentry married less, and their marriages were more often childless. Many died without descendants (decessit sine prole). We also establish that the most prosperous socio-economic group in terms of reproduction was the middle class, which we argue was instrumental to England's economic success because most of its new industrialists originated from middle-class families.

Suggested Citation

  • David de la Croix & Eric B. Schneider & Jacob Weisdorf, 2017. ""Decessit sine prole" Childlessness, Celibacy, and Survival of the Richest in Pre-Industrial England," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2017001, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2017001
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://sites.uclouvain.be/econ/DP/IRES/2017001.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Matthias Doepke & Joel Mokyr & David de la Croix, 2013. "Apprenticeship and Technological Progress in the Malthusian World," 2013 Meeting Papers 76, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2012. "Rules and reality: quantifying the practice of apprenticeship in early modern England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 556-579, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Sharp, Paul & Strulik, Holger & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2012. "The determinants of income in a Malthusian equilibrium," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 112-117.
    5. Tommy Bengtsson & Martin Dribe, 2006. "Deliberate control in a natural fertility population: Southern Sweden, 1766–1864," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(4), pages 727-746, November.
    6. Daniel Aaronson & Fabian Lange & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2014. "Fertility Transitions along the Extensive and Intensive Margins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3701-3724, November.
    7. Thomas Baudin & David de la Croix & Paula E. Gobbi, 2015. "Fertility and Childlessness in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1852-1882, June.
    8. Thomas Baudin & David de la Croix & Paula E. Gobbi, 2015. "Fertility and Childlessness in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1852-1882, June.
    9. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, February.
    10. Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2014. "The Biocultural Origins of Human Capital Formation," Working Papers 2014-6, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    11. 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.
    12. de la Croix,David, 2014. "Fertility, Education, Growth, and Sustainability," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107443051, October.
    13. Galor, Oded & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2012. "Evolution and the growth process: Natural selection of entrepreneurial traits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 759-780.
    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. Mara P. Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer, 2015. "Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1825-1883.
    16. Francesco Cinnirella & Marc Klemp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2017. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as Birth Control in Pre-Transition England," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(2), pages 413-436, April.
    17. 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.
    18. 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 Group Munich.
    19. Vegard Skirbekk, 2008. "Fertility trends by social status," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 18(5), pages 145-180, March.
    20. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Evolution and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 718-729, May.
    21. Foreman-Peck, James, 2011. "The Western European marriage pattern and economic development," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 292-309, April.
    22. Marc Klemp & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis & Jacob Weisdorf, 2013. "Picking winners? The effect of birth order and migration on parental human capital investments in pre-modern England," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 210-232, May.
    23. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters,in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World Princeton University Press.
    24. Leunig, Tim & Minns, Chris & Wallis, Patrick, 2011. "Networks in the Premodern Economy: The Market for London Apprenticeships, 1600–1749," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(02), pages 413-443, June.
    25. Paula Gobbi, 2013. "A model of voluntary childlessness," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 963-982, July.
    26. Wallis, Patrick & Webb, Cliff, 2009. "The education and training of gentry sons in early-modern England," Economic History Working Papers 27958, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    27. Paula Eugenia Gobbi, 2013. "A Model of Voluntary Childlessness," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/265942, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    28. Jason Long, 2013. "The surprising social mobility of Victorian Britain," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

    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:ctl:louvir:2017001. 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: (Virginie LEBLANC). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/iruclbe.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.