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Unmarried adolescents and filial assistance in eighteenth-century Flanders


  • Lambrecht, Thijs A.


Service was one of the main characteristics of the European Marriage Pattern in pre-industrial western Europe. During this stage of the life cycle adolescents could acquire the material assets and skills that were required to marry and start an independent household. Whilst in service, servants could save between 40 and 60 per cent of their cash wage. This paper illustrates that servants also used their earnings to assist their families. Parents of servants in particular could rely on both remittances in cash and in kind. As such, placing children in service was also a source of income for peasant household in Flanders. I argue that both patterns of land ownership and the restricted access to welfare ressources explain why servants displayed this altruistic behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Lambrecht, Thijs A., 2011. "Unmarried adolescents and filial assistance in eighteenth-century Flanders," MPRA Paper 35400, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35400

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. A. S. Kussmaul, 1981. "The Ambiguous Mobility of Farm Servants," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 34(2), pages 222-235, May.
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    More about this item


    adolescents; farm servants; saving; Flanders; family assistance; poor relief; household formation; European Marriage Pattern;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets
    • I39 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Other
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

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