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Persistence of Malthus or Persistence in Malthus? Mortality, Income, and Marriage in the French Fertility Decline of the Long Nineteenth Century?

  • Tommy E. Murphy

This paper brings the French case into the current debate on Malthusian dynamics in early modern times. In particular, it studies the long-term evolution of aggregate variables, showing that nineteenth century France was hardly a Malthusian world in a strict sense. Homeostasis was maintained throughout the century and there were signs of a strong positive check, but if there was some sort of preventive check, this was not ‘written in stone’. The results of both cointegrated VAR and short-run analysis grant a reading where departure from the Malthusian world (if there ever was one) is due to a secular change in the relationship between income, marriages, and births. If this interpretation is correct, the fertility decline was instrumental in the sustained decline in mortalit1y during the century.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 363.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:363
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  1. Niels Framroze Møller & Paul Sharp, 2008. "Malthus in Cointegration Space: A new look at living standards and population in pre-industrial England," Discussion Papers 08-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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