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Culture strikes back: a geographic analysis of fertility decline in Prussia

Sebastian Kluesener, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Joshua R. Goldstein, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

In this paper, we re-introduce geography into the analysis of fertility decline in the first demographic transition. In a reanalysis of Galloway et al.'s Prussian data, we find evidence _both_ of the predictive effect of economic variables and of the unexplained geographic clustering of fertility decline found by the Princeton European Fertility Project. Our methodology is to fit multivariate socio-economic models similar those of Galloway et al. to the Prussian data and to map the residuals. We find that unexplained fertility decline is geographically clustered beyond what one would expect from chance. Indeed, adjacency to an area of large fertility decline and location along communication and transport corridors seem to be important predictors of fertility decline beyond what one would expect from structural models alone.

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Presented in Session 158: New perspectives on the historical fertility transition