NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Fertility and the Plough

Alberto Alesina, Paola Giuliano, Nathan Nunn

NBER Working Paper No. 16718
Issued in January 2011
NBER Program(s):   POL

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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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16718

Published: Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2011. "Fertility and the Plough," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 499-503, May.

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