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The Art of Counting - Reconstructing numeracy in the middle and upper classes on the basis of portraits in the early modern Low Countries

Author

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  • Tine De Moor
  • Jaco Zuijderduijn

Abstract

In this paper we contribute to literature on human capital formation by investigating age references on early-modern portraits from the Low Countries. We use the very popular aetatis formulae to estimate to what degree sitters to portraits were able to give their age in an accurate way. This approach allows us to estimate the numeracy of single men and women, as well as couples who commissioned pair portraits to commemorate marriage. The paper suggests a methodology to be used for this type of research and also uses some specific characteristics of portraits to contribute to recent discussions in the field of numeracy studies, particularly with respect to gender differences in numeracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Tine De Moor & Jaco Zuijderduijn, 2011. "The Art of Counting - Reconstructing numeracy in the middle and upper classes on the basis of portraits in the early modern Low Countries," Working Papers 0016, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0016
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Jörg Baten & Mikołaj Szołtysek, 2014. "A golden age before serfdom? The human capital of Central-Eastern and Eastern Europe in the 17th-19th centuries," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2014-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. repec:bla:ehsrev:v:70:y:2017:i:1:p:187-223 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Blum, Matthias & Krauss, Karl-Peter, 2017. "Age heaping and numeracy: Looking behind the curtain," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2017-05, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    5. Matthias Blum & Christopher L. Colvin & Laura McAtackney & Eoin McLaughlin, 2017. "Women of an uncertain age: quantifying human capital accumulation in rural Ireland in the nineteenth century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 70(1), pages 187-223, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Portraits; human capital; numeracy; Holland; early modern period; gender;

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