Survival of the Richest? Social Status, Fertility, and Social Mobility in England 1541-1824

31 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2011

See all articles by Nina Boberg-Fazlic

Nina Boberg-Fazlic

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Paul Richard Sharp

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

Jacob Louis Weisdorf

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Date Written: January, 31 2011

Abstract

We use data collected by the Cambridge Group to investigate and explain differences in fertility by socio-economic group in pre-industrial England. We find, in line with results presented by Greg Clark, that wealthier groups did indeed have higher fertility until the 1700s. We demonstrate that this had to do with earlier age at marriage for women. We then turn to the likely social and economic impact of this, considering Clark’s hypothesis that ‘middle class values’ spread through English society prior to the industrial revolution. Through the construction of social mobility tables, we demonstrate that the children of the rich were indeed spreading through society, but they were small in number relative to poorer sections of society, and moreover the children of the poor were also entering the middle classes.

Keywords: demography, pre-industrial England, fertility, social mobility, survival of the richest

JEL Classification: N33

Suggested Citation

Boberg-Fazlic, Nina and Sharp, Paul Richard and Weisdorf, Jacob Louis, Survival of the Richest? Social Status, Fertility, and Social Mobility in England 1541-1824 (January, 31 2011). Univ. of Copenhagen Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 11-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1752124 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1752124

Nina Boberg-Fazlic

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

Paul Richard Sharp (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

Jacob Louis Weisdorf

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

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