Economics at your fingertips  

Modernization Before Industrialization: Cultural Roots of the Demographic Transition in France

Guillaume Blanc ()
Additional contact information
Guillaume Blanc: Brown University

Working Papers from HAL

Abstract: This research identifies the origins of the early demographic transition in eighteenth-century France. A turning point in history and an essential condition for development, the demographic transition first took hold in France more than a hundred years before any other country—and this event remains one of the ''big questions of history'' because of its timing and limited data availability. My results suggest that secularization accounts for the decline in fertility. I document an important and early process of dechristianization with never-before-used data on religious beliefs across time and space. Using census data, I show a strong association between religiosity and the timing of the transition. Finally, I draw on a novel dataset crowdsourced from publicly available genealogies to study individuals at the time. In order to establish a causal interpretation, I control for time-varying unobservables with fixed effects, study the effect of religiosity before and after secularization with difference-in-differences, and exploit the choices of second-generation migrants to account for unobserved institutional factors. These findings reveal that changes in preferences and the transition away from tradition may shape development.

Keywords: secularization; fertility; development; modernization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-11-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-gro and nep-his
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers from HAL
Bibliographic data for series maintained by CCSD ().

Page updated 2020-11-23
Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-02318180