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The Child Quantity-Quality Trade-Off During the Industrial Revolution in England

Author

Listed:
  • Marc Klemp

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Jacob Weisdorf

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We take Gary Becker's child quantity-quality trade-off hypothesis to the historical record, investigating the causal link from family size to the literacy status of offspring using data from Anglican parish registers, c. 1700-1830. Extraordinarily forhistorical data, the parish records enable us to control for parental literacy, longevity and social class, as well as sex and birth order of offspring. In a world without modern contraception and among the couples whose children were not prenuptially conceived we are able to explore a novel source of exogenous variation in family size: marital fecundability as measured by the time interval from the marriage to the first birth. Consistent with previous findings among historical populations, we document a large and significantly negative effect of family size on children's literacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Klemp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2011. "The Child Quantity-Quality Trade-Off During the Industrial Revolution in England," Discussion Papers 11-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1116
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/dp_2011/1116.pdf/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The child quality/quantity trade-off in the Industrial Revolution
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-07-01 19:59:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Hupkau, Claudia & Leturcq, Marion, 2017. "Fertility and mothers’ labor supply: new evidence usingtime-to-conception," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 69045, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Claude Diebolt & Tapas Mishra & Faustine Perrin, 2015. "Did Gender-Bias Matter in the Quantity-Quality Trade-off in the 19th Century France?," Working Papers 04-15, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
    3. Adriana D. Kugler & Santosh Kumar, 2017. "Preference for Boys, Family Size, and Educational Attainment in India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(3), pages 835-859, June.
    4. Claude Diebolt & Faustine Perrin, 2013. "From Stagnation to Sustained Growth: The Role of Female Empowerment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 545-549.
    5. Marc Klemp & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis & Jacob Weisdorf, 2012. "Family Investment Strategies in Pre-modern Societies: Human Capital, Migration, and Birth Order in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century England," Working Papers 0018, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    6. Jun, Bogang, 2013. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from the Korean Development Path," MPRA Paper 43971, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Marc P. B. Klemp, 2012. "Prices, wages and fertility in pre-industrial England," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(1), pages 63-77, January.
    8. Claude Diebolt & Audrey-Rose Menard & Faustine Perrin, 2016. "Behind the Fertility-Education Nexus: What Triggered the French Development Process?," Working Papers of BETA 2016-10, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    9. Diebolt, Claude & Mishra, Tapas & Perrin, Faustine, 2015. "Did Gender-Bias Matter in the Quantity-Quality Trade-off in 19th Century France?," Lund Papers in Economic History 141, Lund University, Department of Economic History.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    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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