nep-gro New Economics Papers
on Economic Growth
Issue of 2023‒03‒06
three papers chosen by
Marc Klemp
University of Copenhagen

  1. Slavery and the British Industrial Revolution By Heblich, Stephan; Redding, Stephen J.; Voth, Hans-Joachim
  2. Economic Foundations of Contraceptive Transitions: Theories and a Review of the Evidence By Karra, Mahesh; Wilde, Joshua
  3. Integration Vs Cultural Persistence: Fertility and Working Time among Second-Generation Migrants in France By Thomas Baudin; Keiti Kondi

  1. By: Heblich, Stephan; Redding, Stephen J.; Voth, Hans-Joachim
    Abstract: Did overseas slave-holding by Britons accelerate the Industrial Revolution? We provide theory and evidence on the contribution of slave wealth to Britain's growth prior to 1835. We compare areas of Britain with high and low exposure to the colonial plantation economy, using granular data on wealth from compensation records. Before the major expansion of slave holding from the 1640s onwards, both types of area exhibited similar levels of economic activity. However, by the 1830s, slavery wealth is strongly correlated with economic development - slave-holding areas are less agricultural, closer to cotton mills, and have higher property wealth. We rationalize these findings using a dynamic spatial model, where slavery investment raises the return to capital accumulation, expanding production in capital-intensive sectors. To establish causality, we use arguably exogenous variation in slave mortality on the passage from Africa to the Indies, driven by weather shocks. We show that weather shocks influenced the continued involvement of ancestors in the slave trade; weather-induced slave mortality of slave-trading ancestors in each area is strongly predictive of slaveholding in 1833. Quantifying our model using the observed data, we find that Britain would have been substantially poorer and more agricultural in the absence of overseas slave wealth. Overall, our findings are consistent with the view that slavery wealth accelerated Britain's industrial revolution.
    Keywords: industrial revolution; overseas slave-holding; slavery wealth
    JEL: J15 N63
    Date: 2022–11–16
  2. By: Karra, Mahesh (Boston University); Wilde, Joshua (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research)
    Abstract: We review the foundations of the economic development-contraception nexus, focusing on the pathways through which economic factors drive contraceptive adoption and change. We investigate the channels through which the relationship between economic development and contraceptive dynamics are mediated. Using global data, we document the correlations between economic development and contraception transitions over time and across geographies. We briefly examine the evidence of the role of fertility, both desired and realized, as a central pathway through which the relationship has been historically theorized and empirically verified. We also discuss a range of mechanisms through which economic development drives contraceptive use independently from fertility decline. Finally, we assess the state and quality of evidence of these relationships and propose directions for future inquiry.
    Keywords: fertility, contraception, demographic transition, development
    JEL: J13 J16 J11 J18 I12 I15
    Date: 2023–01
  3. By: Thomas Baudin (I´ESEG School of Management, LEM UMR 9221 and IRES, Université Catholique de Louvain); Keiti Kondi (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: We study whether cultural norms in the origin country, measured at different times, affect fertility and labor force participation of second-generation migrant women in France. We investigate empirically and follow an epidemiological approach to test that the culture of origin affects people’s behavior and decisions. We use the dataset TeO (Trajectoires et Origines) on population diversity in France in 2008. We find that: 1) cultural norms affect people’s fertility and labor working time decisions, confirming the results of Fernandez and Fogli (2009) also for the French context; 2) the timing when the norm is measured is crucial. The later the norm is measured in time, the most powerful its effect, suggesting that the effect of the norms transmitted from peers is stronger than that of norms transmitted from parents. The explanatory power of norms holds also when controlling for socio-economic characteristics such as age, siblings, education of the respondent, spouse, and parents; 3) the feeling of being French moderates the persistence of cultural norms differently for fertility and labor force participation, while the perceived feeling of being discriminated does not alter the persistence of the cultural norms.
    Keywords: second generation migrants, culture, fertility, labor force participation, discrimination, integration
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2023–01–13

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