IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

How the West "invented" fertility restriction

  • Nico Voigtländer
  • Joachim Voth

We analyze the rise of the first socio-economic institution in history that limited fertility – long before the Demographic Transition. The "European Marriage Pattern" (EMP) raised the marriage age of women and ensured that many remained celibate, thereby reducing childbirths by up to one third between the 14th and 18th century. To explain the rise of EMP we build a two-sector model of agricultural production – grain and livestock. Women have a comparative advantage in the latter because plow agriculture requires physical strength. After the Black Death in 1348-50, land abundance triggered a shift towards the landintensive pastoral sector, improving female employment prospects. Because women working in animal husbandry had to remain unmarried, more farm service spelled later marriages. The resulting reduction in fertility led to a new Malthusian steady state with lower population pressure and higher wages. The model can thus help to explain the divergence in income per capita between Europe and Asia long before the Industrial Revolution. Using detailed data from England after 1290, we provide strong evidence for our mechanism. Where pastoral agriculture dominated, more women worked as servants, and marriage occurred markedly later. Overall, we estimate that pastoral farming raised female ages at first marriage by more than 4 years.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.econ.upf.edu/docs/papers/downloads/1264.pdf
File Function: Whole Paper
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1264.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision: Dec 2012
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1264
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1998. "Malthus to Solow," NBER Working Papers 6858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. anonymous, 2009. "Focus on Authors," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(3), pages 609-613, 05-06.
  3. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2010. "Social Change: The Sexual Revolution," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 893-923, November.
  4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, . "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 90-5a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  5. Doepke, Matthias & Hazan, Moshe & Maoz, Yishay D, 2008. "The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 6628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2010. "From Shame to Game in One Hundred Years: An Economic Model of the Rise in Premarital Sex and its De-Stigmatization," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 16, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  7. Robert J. Barro & Gary S. Becker, . "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  8. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working-Class in England, 1209-2004," Working Papers 539, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  9. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Nico Voigtlander & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2009. "Malthusian Dynamism and the Rise of Europe: Make War, Not Love," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 248-54, May.
  11. 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.
  12. Alice Schoonbroodt & Larry E. Jones, 2010. "Baby Busts and Baby Booms: The Fertility Response to Shocks in Dynastic Models," 2010 Meeting Papers 144, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Heckman, J.J. & Walker, J.R., 1989. "The Third Birth In Sweden," Papers 573, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  14. Foreman-Peck, James, 2009. "The Western European Marriage Pattern and Economic Development," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2009/15, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
  15. Tommy E. Murphy, 2010. "Old Habits Die Hard (Sometimes) Can département heterogeneity tell us something about the French fertility decline??," Working Papers 364, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  16. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2011. "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence From A Historical Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 593-650.
  17. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2013. "On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 469-530.
  18. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  19. Allen, Robert C., 1988. "The growth of labor productivity in early modern English agriculture," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 117-146, April.
  20. anonymous, 2009. "Focus on Authors," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(6), pages 1164-1166, 11-12.
  21. Esteban A. Nicolini, 2006. "Was Malthus Right? A Var Analysis Of Economic And Demographic Interactions In Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers in Economic History wh060601, Universidad Carlos III, Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales.
  22. John C. Brown & Timothy W. Guinnane, 2001. "The Fertility Transition in Bavaria," Working Papers 821, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  23. Salvatore, Ricardo D., 2004. "Stature decline and recovery in a food-rich export economy: Argentina 1900-1934," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 233-255, July.
  24. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2002. "The Baby Boom and Baby Bust," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 1, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  25. Michael Anderson & Ronald Lee, 2002. "Malthus in state space: Macro economic-demographic relations in English history, 1540 to 1870," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 195-220.
  26. anonymous, 2009. "Focus on Authors," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(5), pages 1002-1006, 09-10.
  27. 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.
  28. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1993. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  30. Greif, Avner & Iyigun, Murat & Sasson, Diego, 2011. "Risk, Institutions and Growth: Why England and Not China?," IZA Discussion Papers 5598, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  31. Oecd, 2009. "DAC Peer Review of Austria," OECD Journal on Development, OECD Publishing, vol. 10(3), pages 109-219.
  32. Oecd, 2009. "DAC Peer Review of Australia," OECD Journal on Development, OECD Publishing, vol. 10(2), pages 147-260.
  33. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
  34. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt & Michèle Tertilt, 2010. "Fertility Theories: Can They Explain the Negative Fertility-Income Relationship?," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 43-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2, August.
  36. anonymous, 2009. "Focus on Authors," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(2), pages 397-401, 03-04.
  37. Dietrich Vollrath, 2011. "The agricultural basis of comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 343-370, December.
  38. anonymous, 2009. "Focus on Authors," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(4), pages 802-806, 07-08.
  39. Jones, Larry & Schoonbroodt, Alice, 2007. "Baby busts and baby booms: the response of fertility to shocks in dynastic models," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0706, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  40. Robert C. Allen, 2009. "Agricultural productivity and rural incomes in England and the Yangtze Delta, c.1620-c.1820 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(3), pages 525-550, 08.
  41. Broadberry, Stephen N & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2005. "The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 4947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  42. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1998. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From the Malthusian Regime to the Demographic Transition," Working Papers 98-1, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Aug 1998.
  43. Jizhen Li & Xin Pu, 2009. "Technology Evolution in China's Color TV Industry," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4-5), pages 479-497.
  44. anonymous, 2009. "Focus on Authors," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(1), pages 193-197, 01-02.
  45. Jack A. Goldstone, 2007. "Jack Goldstone on Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 8(3), pages 207-225, July.
  46. Voigtländer, Nico & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2009. "The Three Horsemen of Growth: Plague, War and Urbanization in Early Modern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 7275, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  47. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
    [A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  48. Greif, Avner, 1998. "Historical and Comparative Institutional Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 80-84, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. How the West "Invented" Fertility Restriction (AER 2013) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1264. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.