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Childlessness, celibacy and net fertility in pre-industrial England: the middle-class evolutionary advantage

de la Croix, David, Schneider, Eric B. and Weisdorf, Jacob (2019) Childlessness, celibacy and net fertility in pre-industrial England: the middle-class evolutionary advantage. Journal of Economic Growth, 24 (3). 223–256. ISSN 1381-4338

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10887-019-09170-6

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the fertility of historical social groups by accounting for singleness and childlessness. We find that the middle class had the highest reproductive success during England's early industrial development. In light of the greater propensity of the middle class to invest in human capital, the rise in the prevalence of these traits in the population could have been instrumental to England's economic success. Unlike earlier results about the survival of the richest, the paper shows that the reproductive success of the rich (and also the poor) were lower than that of the middle class, once accounting for singleness and childlessness. Hence, the prosperity of England over this period can be attributed to the increase in the prevalence of middle-class traits rather than those of the upper (or lower) class.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/journal/10887
Additional Information: © 2019 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J13 - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N33 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: Pre-1913
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2019 11:36
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 00:29
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/100923

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