Be Fruitful and Multiply? Moderate Fecundity and Long-Run Reproductive Success
Oded Galor () and
Marc Klemp ()
MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany
This research presents the first evidence that moderate fecundity was conducive long-run reproductive success within the human species. Exploiting an extensive genealogy record for nearly half a million individuals in Quebec during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the study traces the number of descendants of early inhabitants in the subsequent four generations. Using the time interval between the date of marriage and the first live birth as a measure of reproductive capacity, the research establishes that while a higher fecundity is associated with a larger number of children, an intermediate level maximizes long-run reproductive success. The finding further indicates that the optimal level of fecundity was below the population median, suggesting that the forces of natural selection favored individuals with a lower level of fecundity. The research lends credence to the hypothesis that during the Malthusian epoch, natural selection favored individuals with a larger predisposition towards child quality, contributing to the onset of the demographic transition and the evolution of societies from an epoch of stagnation to sustained economic growth.
Keywords: Demography; Evolution; Natural Selection; Fecundity; Quantity-Quality Trade-Off; Long-Run Reproductive Success; Development; Growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J10 O10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo and nep-his
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/52049/1/MPRA_paper_52049.pdf original version (application/pdf)
Working Paper: Be Fruitful and Multiply? Moderate Fecundity and Long-Run Reproductive Success (2014)
Working Paper: Be Fruitful and Multiply? Moderate Fecundity and Long-Run Reproductive Success (2013)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pra:mprapa:52049
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Joachim Winter ().