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Picking Winners? The Effect of Birth Order and Migration on Parental Human Capital Investments in Pre-Modern England

  • Marc Klemp
  • Chris Minns
  • Patrick Wallis
  • Jacob Weisdorf

    (University of Copenhagen, LSE, and University of Southern Denmark)

This paper uses linked apprenticeship-family reconstitution records to explore the influence of family structure on human capital formation in preindustrial England. We observe a small but significant relationship between birth order, resources and human capital investments. Among the gentry, eldest sons were almost never apprenticed. Outside the gentry, a large number of apprentices were eldest sons, even from farming families. This Implies a relatively large place for a child’s aptitude and interest in shaping their career compared to custom or inheritance practices, making the “middling sorts” behave much more as families do in presentday labour studies than the contemporary elites. We also find a surprisingly high rate of return migration, questioning the emphasis on neo-locality and suggesting that parents could anticipate benefiting directly from positive externalities arising from the training provided to children. This interpretation also fits well with our finding that if parents had died before indenture, apprentices were significantly less likely to return home.

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File URL: http://www.cgeh.nl/sites/default/files/WorkingPapers/CGEH.WP_.No37.Klemp_.et_.al_.%20%281%29.pdf
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Paper provided by Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History in its series Working Papers with number 0037.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0037
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Utrecht, Drift 10, The Netherlands
Web page: http://www.cgeh.nl

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  1. Boberg-Fazlic, Nina & Sharp, Paul & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2011. "Survival of the richest? Social status, fertility and social mobility in England 1541-1824," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 365-392, December.
  2. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2011. "Why did (pre‐industrial) firms train?: premiums and apprenticeship contracts in 18th century England," Economic History Working Papers 41348, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  3. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1986. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S1-39, July.
  4. Dribe, Martin, 2003. "Dealing with economic stress through migration: Lessons from nineteenth century rural Sweden," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(03), pages 271-299, December.
  5. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Wößmann, Ludger, 2010. "The trade-off between fertility and education: Evidence from before the demographic transition," Munich Reprints in Economics 20196, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Tim Leunig & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2009. "Networks in the premodern economy: the market for London apprenticeships, 1600-1749," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28686, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. de Vries, Jan, 1994. "The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 249-270, June.
  8. Patrick Wallis, 2007. "Apprenticeship and training in premodern England," Economic History Working Papers 22515, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  9. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, 02.
  10. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-89, December.
  12. Patrick Wallis & Cliff Webb & Chris Minns, 2009. "Leaving home and entering service: the age of apprenticeship in early modern London," Economic History Working Papers 27873, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  13. Gregory Clark & Gillian Hamilton, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers 615, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  14. Patrick Wallis & Cliff Webb, 2009. "The education and training of gentry sons in early-modern England," Economic History Working Papers 27958, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  15. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2012. "Rules and reality: quantifying the practice of apprenticeship in early modern England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 556-579, 05.
  16. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521847568 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Alan Fernihough, 2011. "Human Capital and the Quantity-Quality Trade-Off during the Demographic Transition: New Evidence from Ireland," Working Papers 201113, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
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