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Family size and intergenerational social mobility during the fertility transition: evidence of resource dilution from the city of Antwerp in nineteenth century Belgium

Jan Van Bavel, Sarah Moreels, Koen Matthijs and Bart Van de Putte UGent (2011) DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH. 24. p.313-343
abstract
It has been argued in sociology, economics, and evolutionary anthropology that family size limitation enhances the intergenerational upward mobility chances in modernized societies. If parents have a large flock, family resources get diluted and intergenerational mobility is bound to head downwards. Yet, the empirical record supporting this resource dilution hypothesis is limited. This article investigates the empirical association between family size limitation and intergenerational mobility in an urban, late nineteenth century population in Western Europe. It uses life course data from the Belgian city of Antwerp between 1846 and 1920. Findings are consistent with the resource dilution hypothesis: after controlling for confounding factors, people with many children were more likely to end up in the lower classes. Yet, family size limitation was effective as a defensive rather than an offensive strategy: it prevented the next generation from going down rather than helping them to climb up the social ladder. Also, family size appears to have been particularly relevant for the middle classes. Implications for demographic transition theory are discussed.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
ENGLAND
journal title
DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH
Demogr. Res.
volume
24
pages
313 - 343
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000287446700001
JCR category
DEMOGRAPHY
JCR impact factor
1.198 (2011)
JCR rank
8/23 (2011)
JCR quartile
2 (2011)
ISSN
1435-9871
DOI
10.4054/DemRes.2011.24.14
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
2084166
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-2084166
date created
2012-04-11 16:32:48
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:42:24
@article{2084166,
  abstract     = {It has been argued in sociology, economics, and evolutionary anthropology that family size limitation enhances the intergenerational upward mobility chances in modernized societies. If parents have a large flock, family resources get diluted and intergenerational mobility is bound to head downwards. Yet, the empirical record supporting this resource dilution hypothesis is limited. This article investigates the empirical association between family size limitation and intergenerational mobility in an urban, late nineteenth century population in Western Europe. It uses life course data from the Belgian city of Antwerp between 1846 and 1920. Findings are consistent with the resource dilution hypothesis: after controlling for confounding factors, people with many children were more likely to end up in the lower classes. Yet, family size limitation was effective as a defensive rather than an offensive strategy: it prevented the next generation from going down rather than helping them to climb up the social ladder. Also, family size appears to have been particularly relevant for the middle classes. Implications for demographic transition theory are discussed.},
  author       = {Van Bavel, Jan  and Moreels, Sarah and Matthijs, Koen  and Van de Putte, Bart},
  issn         = {1435-9871},
  journal      = {DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH},
  keyword      = {ENGLAND},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {313--343},
  title        = {Family size and intergenerational social mobility during the fertility transition: evidence of resource dilution from the city of Antwerp in nineteenth century Belgium},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2011.24.14},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
Van Bavel, Jan , Sarah Moreels, Koen Matthijs, and Bart Van de Putte. 2011. “Family Size and Intergenerational Social Mobility During the Fertility Transition: Evidence of Resource Dilution from the City of Antwerp in Nineteenth Century Belgium.” Demographic Research 24: 313–343.
APA
Van Bavel, J., Moreels, S., Matthijs, K., & Van de Putte, B. (2011). Family size and intergenerational social mobility during the fertility transition: evidence of resource dilution from the city of Antwerp in nineteenth century Belgium. DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH, 24, 313–343.
Vancouver
1.
Van Bavel J, Moreels S, Matthijs K, Van de Putte B. Family size and intergenerational social mobility during the fertility transition: evidence of resource dilution from the city of Antwerp in nineteenth century Belgium. DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH. 2011;24:313–43.
MLA
Van Bavel, Jan , Sarah Moreels, Koen Matthijs, et al. “Family Size and Intergenerational Social Mobility During the Fertility Transition: Evidence of Resource Dilution from the City of Antwerp in Nineteenth Century Belgium.” DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH 24 (2011): 313–343. Print.