Destined for Deprivation? Intergenerational Poverty Traps in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Centre for History and Economics 00-03

23 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2001

See all articles by Hans-Joachim Voth

Hans-Joachim Voth

University of Zurich - UBS International Center of Economics in Society; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Sara Horell

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics

Jane Humphries

University of Oxford - Department of Modern History

Date Written: October 2000

Abstract

A model illustrates the intergenerational transmission of poverty through the effects of shocks to family income on children's general education and health and subsequently on their capacity to work and earn as adults. Evidence for nineteenth-century Britain shows that being fatherless, and so likely poor, had an adverse effect on children's human capital acquisition. However, policy intervention in the form of the Old Poor Law blocked the transmission of poverty and avoided permanent pauperism. Even at an early stage of development, redistribution emerges as a positive contribution to economic growth, not a luxury that poor countries can ill afford.

Keywords: Poor Law, Poverty Traps, 18 and 19C Britain, Income Redistribution, Health, Height, Human Capital, Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty, Welfare State, Economic History, GB

JEL Classification: H20, I12, I20, I3, J24, N33

Suggested Citation

Voth, Hans-Joachim and Horrell, Sara and Humphries, Jane, Destined for Deprivation? Intergenerational Poverty Traps in Eighteenth-Century Britain (October 2000). Centre for History and Economics 00-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=254329 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.254329

Hans-Joachim Voth (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - UBS International Center of Economics in Society ( email )

Raemistrasse 71
Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Sara Horrell

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics ( email )

Austin Robinson Building
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom

Jane Humphries

University of Oxford - Department of Modern History ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford OX1 3PG, Oxfordshire OX1 3PG
United Kingdom

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