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Longevity and the Rise of the West: Lifespans of the European Elite, 800-1800

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  • Neil Cummins

    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

I analyze the age at death of 121,524 European nobles from 800 to 1800. Longevity began increasing long before 1800 and the Industrial Revolution, with marked increases around 1400 and again around 1650. Declines in violence contributed to some of this increase, but the majority must reflect other changes in individual behavior. The areas of North-West Europe which later witnessed the Industrial Revolution achieved greater longevity than the rest of Europe even by 1000 AD. The data suggest that the `Rise of the West' originates before the Black Death.

Suggested Citation

  • Neil Cummins, 2014. "Longevity and the Rise of the West: Lifespans of the European Elite, 800-1800," Working Papers 0064, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0064
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    File URL: http://www.ehes.org/EHES_64.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293, Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. David de la Croix, 2015. "Did Longer Lives Buy Economic Growth? From Malthus to Lucas and Ben-Porath," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2015012, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, 2015. "The longevity of famous people from Hammurabi to Einstein," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 263-303, September.
    3. James Foreman‐Peck & Peng Zhou, 2018. "Late marriage as a contributor to the industrial revolution in England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1073-1099, November.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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