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Published September 2014 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Does the European Marriage Pattern Explain Economic Growth?


This article scrutinizes the recently postulated link between the European Marriage Pattern (EMP) and economic success. Multivariate analysis of 4,705 demographic observations, covering women's marriage age, female lifetime celibacy, and household complexity in 39 European countries, shows that the most extreme manifestations of the EMP were associated with economic stagnation rather than growth. There is no evidence that the EMP improved economic performance by empowering women, increasing human capital investment, adjusting population to economic trends, or sustaining beneficial cultural norms. European economic success was not caused by the EMP and its sources must therefore be sought in other factors.

Additional Information

© 2014 The Economic History Association. Published online: 29 August 2014. Our particular thanks go to André Carus, Markus Cerman, Paul David, Jeremy Edwards, Tim Guinnane, Phil Hoffman, Lionel Kesztenbaum, Alexander Klein, Paul Rhode, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, Steve Ruggles, Richard Smith, two anonymous referees, and participants at the Caltech Social Science History workshop, the Berkeley economic history seminar, and the All-UC Economic History Conference, for their stimulating comments on earlier versions of this article. We are very grateful to Jeremy Edwards for his advice on the statistical analysis. We would also like to express our gratitude to the many scholars in the field of historical demography who have generously provided data references which have enriched and improved this work. We dedicate this article to the memory of Peter Laslett and Richard Wall, inspiring teachers, generous scholars, and unforgotten friends.

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Published - S0022050714000564a.pdf

Supplemental Material - S0022050714000564sup1.docx


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