Childlessness, Celibacy and Net Fertility in Pre-Industrial England: The Middle-Class Evolutionary Advantage

84 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2017 Last revised: 25 Feb 2019

See all articles by David de la Croix

David de la Croix

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES); Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Eric Schneider

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Jacob Louis Weisdorf

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

In explaining England's early industrial development, previous research has highlighted that wealthy pre-industrial elites had more surviving offspring than their poorer counterparts. Thus, entrepreneurial traits spread and helped England grow rich. We contest this view, showing that lower-class reproduction rates were no different from the elites when taking singleness and childlessness into account. Elites married less and were more often childless. Many died without descendants. We find that the middle classes had the highest net reproduction and argue that this advantage was instrumental to England's economic success because the middle class invested most strongly in human capital.

Keywords: Childlessness, European Marriage Pattern, Evolutionary Advantage, Fertility, Industrial Rev- olution, Marriage, Social Class

JEL Classification: J12, J13, N33

Suggested Citation

de la Croix, David and Schneider, Eric and Weisdorf, Jacob Louis, Childlessness, Celibacy and Net Fertility in Pre-Industrial England: The Middle-Class Evolutionary Advantage (January 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11752. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2896042

David De la Croix (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) ( email )

3, Place Montesquieu
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium
+32 10 47 3945 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.de-la-croix.be

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium

Eric Schneider

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Jacob Louis Weisdorf

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Ă˜ster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

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