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Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as Birth Control in Pre-Transition England

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  • Cinnirella, Francesco
  • Klemp, Marc
  • Weisdorf, Jacob

Abstract

We use duration models on a well-known historical data set of more than 15,000 families and 60,000 births in England for the period 1540-1850 to show that the sampled families adjusted the timing of their births in accordance with the economic conditions as well as their stock of dependent children. The effects were larger among the lower socioeconomic ranks. Our findings on the existence of parity-dependent as well as parity-independent birth spacing in England are consistent with the growing evidence that marital birth control was present in pre-transitional populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Cinnirella, Francesco & Klemp, Marc & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2017. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as Birth Control in Pre-Transition England," Munich Reprints in Economics 49900, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:49900
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    17. repec:cai:poeine:pope_401_0117 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. David de la Croix & Eric B. Schneider & Jacob Weisdorf, 2017. ""Decessit sine prole" Childlessness, Celibacy, and Survival of the Richest in Pre-Industrial England," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2017001, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. David de la Croix & Eric B. Schneider & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Childlessness, celibacy and net fertility in pre-industrial England: the middle-class evolutionary advantage," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 223-256, September.
    3. Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins, 2019. "Randomness in the Bedroom: There Is No Evidence for Fertility Control in Pre-Industrial England," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(4), pages 1541-1555, August.
    4. Alexandra de Pleijt & Alessandro Nuvolari & Jacob Weisdorf, 2020. "Human Capital Formation During the First Industrial Revolution: Evidence from the use of Steam Engines," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 829-889.
    5. Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins & Matthew Curtis, 2020. "Twins Support the Absence of Parity-Dependent Fertility Control in Pretransition Populations," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(4), pages 1571-1595, August.
    6. Sandra Brée & David de la Croix, 2019. "Key forces behind the decline of fertility: lessons from childlessness in Rouen before the industrial revolution," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 13(1), pages 25-54, January.
    7. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2020. "Malthus's missing women and children: demography and wages in historical perspective, England 1280-1850," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    8. Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins & Matthew Curtis, 0. "Twins Support the Absence of Parity-Dependent Fertility Control in Pretransition Populations," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 0, pages 1-25.
    9. Francesco Cinnirella & Marc Klemp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Further Evidence of Within-Marriage Fertility Control in Pre-Transitional England," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(4), pages 1557-1572, August.
    10. Le Bris, David & Tallec, Ronan, 2021. "The European Marriage Pattern and its Positive Consequences Montesquieu-Volvestre, 1660-1789," MPRA Paper 105324, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Clark, Gregory & Cummins, Neil & Curtis, Matthew, 2019. "Twins Support Absence of Parity-Dependent Fertility Control in Pre-Transition Western European Populations," CEPR Discussion Papers 13539, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Maja Uhre Pedersen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Paul Richard Sharp, 2020. "Arresting the Sword of Damocles: Dating the Transition to the Post-Malthusian Era in Denmark," Working Papers 0182, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    13. Jeanne Cilliers & Martine Mariotti, 2019. "The shaping of a settler fertility transition: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century South African demographic history reconsidered," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 421-445.
    14. Alam, Shamma Adeeb & Pörtner, Claus C., 2018. "Income shocks, contraceptive use, and timing of fertility," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 96-103.
    15. Sara Horrell & Jane Humphries & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Working for a Living? Women and Children’s Labour Inputs in England, 1260-1850," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _172, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    16. Hannaliis Jaadla & Ellen Potter & Sebastian Keibek & Romola Davenport, 2020. "Infant and child mortality by socio‐economic status in early nineteenth‐century England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 73(4), pages 991-1022, November.
    17. Cummins, Neil, 2020. "The micro-evidence for the Malthusian system. France, 1670–1840," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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