Twins Support Absence of Parity-Dependent Fertility Control in Pre-Transition Western European Populations

25 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2019

See all articles by Gregory Clark

Gregory Clark

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Neil Cummins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History

Matthew Curtis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: February 2019

Abstract

Using evidence from the accident of twin births we show that for three Western European pre-industrial population samples -- England 1730-1879, France 1670-1788 and Quebec, 1621-1835 -- there is no evidence for parity-dependent control of fertility within marriage. If a twin was born to a family in any of these populations, average family size increased by 1 compared to families with a singleton birth at the same parity and mother age, with no reduction of subsequent fertility. Twin births also show no differential effect on fertility when they occurred at high, as opposed to low, parities. This is in contrast to populations where fertility is known to have been controlled by at least some families, such as England, 1900-49. There a twin birth increased average births per family by significantly less than 1.

Keywords: Economic Growth, economic history, family planning, Fertility, natural fertility

JEL Classification: D01, J12, J13, N31, N33, N34

Suggested Citation

Clark, Gregory and Cummins, Neil and Curtis, Matthew, Twins Support Absence of Parity-Dependent Fertility Control in Pre-Transition Western European Populations (February 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13539. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3341346

Gregory Clark (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Neil Cummins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.neilcummins.com

Matthew Curtis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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