All the tables and figures of this post have been shamelessly stolen from this article available on line.
The ‘Malthusian’ model of pre-industrial societies depicts a situation in which “incomes are kept at subsistence levels by the interaction of fertility and land supply” (707). Although, due to a chronic lack of sources, the relationship implied by this model between wealth and reproductive success has proved elusive(708). Different studies contradict each other (709). Life expectancy did not seem to significantly rise during the periods of high wages such as the 15th century. Similarly, over the pre-industrial era it appears that was only a slight correlation between higher grain price and reduced fertility (a doubling of prices would on average only lead to a reduction in fertility inferior to 15%). Read the rest of this entry »