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A Two-Tiered Demographic System: "Insiders" and "Outsiders" in Three Swabian Communities, 1558-1914


  • Timothy W. Guinnane

    () (Department of Economics, Yale University)

  • Sheilagh C. Ogilvie

    () (Faculty of Economics, Cambridge University)


This paper presents first results from a project to reconstitute the demographic behavior of three villages in Württemberg (southern Germany) from the mid-sixteenth to the early twentieth century. Using high-quality registers of births, deaths, and marriages, and unusual ancillary sources, we improve on the family-reconstitution techniques pioneered by Louis Henry and applied to good effect by the Cambridge Group and other scholars. This paper focuses on simple, standard demographic measures, in order to provide a broad overview and support comparisons with other places. An extreme system of demographic regulation operated in these Württemberg communities until around 1870. This regulation created a two-tiered demographic system. A group of “insiders” were able to marry, and experienced both high marital fertility and high infant and child mortality. A second group, of “outsiders”, were prevented from marrying. Many, especially the males, left the community; those who stayed contributed to growing illegitimacy and associated levels of infant and child mortality that were even higher than for the offspring of “insiders”.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy W. Guinnane & Sheilagh C. Ogilvie, 2013. "A Two-Tiered Demographic System: "Insiders" and "Outsiders" in Three Swabian Communities, 1558-1914," Working Papers 1021, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1021

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Küpker, Markus & Maegraith, Janine, 2012. "Household Debt in Early Modern Germany: Evidence from Personal Inventories," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(01), pages 134-167, March.
    2. Weir, David R., 1984. "Life Under Pressure: France and England, 1670–1870," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(01), pages 27-47, March.
    3. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2011. "The Historical Fertility Transition: A Guide for Economists," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 589-614, September.
    4. Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2003. "A Bitter Living: Women, Markets, and Social Capital in Early Modern Germany," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198205548, June.
    5. Ogilvie, S. & Küpker, M. & Maegraith, J., 2009. "Community Characteristics and Demographic Development: Three Württemberg Communities, 1558 - 1914," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0910, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    6. Guinnane, Timothy W. & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2008. "Institutions and Demographic Responses to Shocks: Wurttemberg, 1634-1870," Working Papers 44, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    7. Tommy Bengtsson & Cameron Campbell & James Z. Lee, 2004. "Life Under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025515, January.
    8. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2004. "Guilds, efficiency, and social capital: evidence from German proto-industry," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 57(2), pages 286-333, May.
    9. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9477.
    10. Toni Richards, 1983. "Weather, nutrition, and the economy: Short-run fluctuations in births, deaths, and marriages, France 1740–1909," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 20(2), pages 197-212, May.
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    12. Noriko O. Tsuya & Wang Feng & George Alter & James Z. Lee, 2010. "Prudence and Pressure: Reproduction and Human Agency in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262013525, January.
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    More about this item


    fertility; mortality; nuptiality; European marriage pattern; institutions; community; politische Ehekonsens; Germany; Württemberg; proto-industry;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • 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
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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