Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Fertility and the Plough

Author(s): Alberto F Alesina, Paola Giuliano and Nathan Nunn

Publication Date: February 2011

Keyword(s): cultural norms, fertility and plough

Programme Area(s): Labour Economics

Abstract: The current study finds that societies which historically engaged in plough agriculture today have lower fertility. We argue, and provide ethnographic evidence, that the finding is explained by the fact that with plough agriculture, children, like women, are relatively less useful in the field. The plough requires strength and eliminates the need for weeding, a task particularly suitable for women and children. This in turn generates a preference for fewer children, lowering fertility.

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Bibliographic Reference

Alesina, A, Giuliano, P and Nunn, N. 2011. 'Fertility and the Plough'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.