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Institutions, Demography, and Economic Growth

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 February 2016

Tracy K. Dennison
Tracy K. Dennison is Professor of Social Science History, California Institute of Technology, MC 101-40, 309 Dabney Hall, Pasadena, California, 91125. E-mail:
Sheilagh Ogilvie
Sheilagh Ogilvie is Professor of Economic History, University of Cambridge, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DD, United Kingdom. E-mail:


This article evaluates criticisms by Sarah G. Carmichael, Alexandra de Pleijt, Jan Luiten van Zanden, and Tine De Moor of our view of the European Marriage Pattern (EMP), and explains why their claims are incorrect. We elaborate our arguments concerning the institutional sources of economic growth, explore the relationship between women's position and the EMP, analyze the two-way links between demographic and economic behavior, and explicate aspects of our empirical analysis that these scholars find puzzling. The causes of European economic growth, we reiterate, are not to be found in the EMP but rather must be sought in the wider framework of nonfamilial institutions.

Copyright © The Economic History Association 2016 

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We would like to express our thanks to Jeremy Edwards for his exceptionally stimulating comments and suggestions.



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