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The Preventive Check in Medieval and Pre-industrial England

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  • Morgan Kelly
  • Cormac Ó Gráda

Abstract

England’s post-Reformation demographic regime has been characterized as 'low pressure'. Yet the evidence hitherto for the presence of a preventive check, defined as the short-run response of marriage and births to variations in living standards, is rather weak. New evidence in this paper strengthens the case for the preventive check in both medieval and early modern England. We invoke manorial data to argue the case for a preventive check on marriages in the middle ages. Our analysis of the post-1540 period, based on parish-level rather than aggregate data, finds evidence for a preventive check on marriages and births.

Suggested Citation

  • Morgan Kelly & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2011. "The Preventive Check in Medieval and Pre-industrial England," Working Papers 201110, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201110
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/6386
    File Function: First version, 2011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Foreman-Peck, James, 2011. "The Western European marriage pattern and economic development," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 292-309, April.
    2. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2009. "From Malthus to Solow: How did the Malthusian economy really evolve?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 68-93, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cinnirella, Francesco & Klemp, Marc P B & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2012. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as a Preventive Check Mechanism in Pre-Modern England," CEPR Discussion Papers 9116, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Dennison, Tracy & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2014. "Does the European Marriage Pattern Explain Economic Growth?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(03), pages 651-693, September.
    3. Francesco Cinnirella & Marc Klemp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2017. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as Birth Control in Pre-Transition England," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(2), pages 413-436, April.
    4. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Casper Worm Hansen, 2015. "Climate Shocks and (very) Long-Run Productivity," Discussion Papers 15-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriages; Merchets; Wheat prices; Malthus; Thomas Robert; 1766-1834;

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