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

David de la Croix, Eric Schneider and Jacob Weisdorf

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

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.

Keywords: fertility; marriage; childlessness; European marriage patter; industrial revolution; evolutionary advantage; social class (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 J13 N33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 34 pages
Date: 2019-09-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-evo, nep-gro and nep-his
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (27)

Published in Journal of Economic Growth, 1, September, 2019, 24(3), pp. 223–256. ISSN: 1381-4338

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/100923/ Open access version. (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Childlessness, celibacy and net fertility in pre-industrial England: the middle-class evolutionary advantage (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Childlessness, Celibacy and Net Fertility in Pre-Industrial England: The Middle-class Evolutionary Advantage (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Childlessness, Celibacy and Net Fertility in Pre-Industrial England: The Middle-class Evolutionary Advantage (2017) Downloads
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