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"Decessit sine prole" - childlessness, celibacy, and survival of the richest in pre-industrial England

David de la Croix (), Eric Schneider () and Jacob Weisdorf

Economic History Working Papers from London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History

Abstract: In explaining England's early industrial development, previous research has highlighted that wealthy pre-industrial elites had more surviving offspring than their poorer counter- parts. Thus, entrepreneurial traits spread and helped England grow rich. We contest this view, showing that lowerclass reproduction rates were no different from the elites when accounting for singleness and childlessness. Elites married less and were more often childless. Many died without descendants (decessit sine prole). We find that the middle classes had the highest reproduction and argue that this advantage was instrumental to England's economic success because the middle class invested most strongly in human capital.

Keywords: fertility; marriage; childlessness; European marriage pattern; Industrial Revolution; evolutionary advantage; social class (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 J13 N33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-evo, nep-gro and nep-his
Date: 2018-02
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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/87153/ Open access version. (application/pdf)

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Working Paper: 'Decessit sine prole' - Childlessness, Celibacy, and Survival of the Richest in Pre-Industrial England (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: "Decessit sine prole" Childlessness, Celibacy, and Survival of the Richest in Pre-Industrial England (2017) Downloads
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