Romain Wacziarg (UCLA)

December 11, 2018

12:45 - 2:00pm


D 109, Place Montesquieu 3

Romain Wacziarg


will give a presentation on

Change and Persistence in the Age of Modernization: Saint-Germain-d’Anxure, 1730-1895

Using a unique, comprehensive household-level dataset for a single French village from 1730 to 1895, we study the process of modernization during a period of rapid institutional and demographic transformation. We document changes in fertility, mortality, human capital and intergenerational socioeconomic mobility, looking for structural breaks associated with the French Revolution and paying close attention to the sequencing of changes associated with various aspects of modernization. We find that the fall in fertility preceded the rise in education by several decades. Demographic change is plausibly associated with institutional and cultural change rather than with changes in the opportunity cost of children. The rise in education occurred mostly as the result of an increase in the supply of schooling due to the Guizot Law, rather than demand side forces. All these changes occurred in the complete absence of industrialization at the village level. We conclude that institutional and cultural changes originating outside the village were likely the dominant forces explaining its modernization.

With Guillaume Blanc.

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