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Did the Black Death Cause Economic Development by "Inventing" Fertility Restriction?

Jeremy Edwards and Sheilagh Ogilvie

No 7016, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo Group Munich

Abstract: Voigtländer and Voth argue that the Black Death shifted England towards pastoral agriculture, increasing wages for unmarried women, thereby delaying female marriage, lowering fertility, and unleashing economic growth. We show that this argument does not hold. Its crucial assumption is inconsistent with the evidence: women wanting to do pastoral work after the Black Death did not have to remain unmarried, so improved pastoral opportunities did not necessitate later marriage. There is no consensus that late female marriage emerged after the Black Death. Furthermore, the relationship between pastoralism and female marriage age in England provides no support for this argument.

Keywords: European marriage pattern; black death; land-labour ratio; arable and pastoral agriculture (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E02 J12 J13 N13 N33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-gro, nep-hea, nep-his, nep-lab and nep-mac
Date: 2018
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