Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/64851
Authors: 
Cinnirella, Francesco
Klemp, Marc P. B.
Weisdorf, Jacob L.
Year of Publication: 
2012
Series/Report no.: 
CESifo Working Paper: Economics of Education 3936
Abstract: 
We question the received wisdom that birth limitation was absent among historical populations before the fertility transition of the late nineteenth-century. Using duration and panel models on family-level data, we find a causal, negative short-run effect of living standards on birth spacing in the three centuries preceding England's fertility transition. While the effect could be driven by biology in the case of the poor, a significant effect among the rich suggests that spacing worked as a control mechanism in pre-modern England. Our findings support the Malthusian preventive check hypothesis and rationalize England's historical leadership as a low population-pressure, high-wage economy.
Subjects: 
spacing
birth intervals
fertility
limitation
natural fertility
preventive check
JEL: 
J11
J13
N33
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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