Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • Francisco J. Marco-Gracia (a1)


This paper deals with the permanent existence of deliberate fertility control arising from short-term economic stress among rural farm workers. The micro-level analysis uses the family reconstitution method for ten rural Spanish localities. The husband's socio-economic level is regarded as an indicator of the family's socio-economic status. According to the available data, human agency between 1801 and 1909 resulted in a negative fertility response among all farm groups, with this negative response being especially strong among the landless and semi-landless. The existence of a rapid fertility control response suggests that such control was a voluntary decision. Since the end of the 19th century, the number of economic shocks due to high prices has reduced.

Este artículo analiza la existencia permanente de control voluntario de la fecundidad a partir del análisis de estrés económico en el corto plazo entre los trabajadores rurales agrarios. Nuestro análisis a nivel micro ha sido desarrollado usando el método de reconstrucción de familias para diez localidades rurales españolas. El nivel socioeconómico del marido es usado como indicador del estatus socioeconómico familiar. La voluntad de los individuos de controlar su fecundidad entre 1801 y 1909 dio como resultado una respuesta negativa de la fecundidad entre todos los grupos agrarios analizados, con una respuesta especialmente fuerte y negativa en el caso de los individuos sin propiedades agrarias o con pocas propiedades. La existencia de una rápida respuesta en el control de la fecundidad sugiere que ese control respondió a una decisión voluntaria. A partir de finales del siglo XIX, el número de shocks económicos debido a los altos precios se redujo.



Hide All

Department of History.



Hide All
Adserà, A. (2011): «Where Are the Babies? Labor Market Conditions and Fertility in Europe». European Journal of Population 27 (1), pp. 132.
Amialchuk, A., and Dimitrova, E. (2012): «Detecting the Evolution of Deliberate Fertility Control Before the Demographic Transition in Germany». Demographic Research 27, pp. 507542.
Barquín, R. (1999): «El precio del trigo en España (1814-1883)». Historia Agraria 17, pp. 177218.
Barquín, R. (2002): «La producción de trigo en España en el último tercio del siglo XIX. Una comparación internacional». Revista de Historia Económica 20 (1), pp. 1138.
Bengtsson, T. (2004): «Living Standards and Economic Stress», in Bengtsson, T., Campbell, C. and Lee, J.Z. (eds.), Life Under Pressure. Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1910. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 2759.
Bengtsson, T., Campbell, C., Lee, J.Z. et al. (2004): Life Under Pressure. Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1910. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Bengtsson, T., and Dribe, M. (2006): «Deliberate Control in A Natural Fertility Population: Southern Sweden, 1766-1864». Demography 43 (4), pp. 727746.
Bengtsson, T., Dribe, M. (2010): «Economic Stress and Reproductive Responses», in Tsuya, N.O. et al. (eds.), Prudence and Pressure. Reproduction and Human Agency in Europe and Asia, 1700-1910. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 97127.
Bengtsson, T., and Ohlsson, R. (1985): «The Standard of Living and Mortality Response in Different Ages». European Journal of Population 1 (4), pp. 309326.
Bengtsson, T, and Reher, D.S. (1998): «Short and Medium-Term Relations Between Population and Economy», in Nuñez, C.E. (ed.), Debate and Controversies in Economic History. Madrid: Fundación Ramón Areces, pp. 99115.
Benz, E. (1999): Fertility, Wealth, and Politics in Three Southwest German Villages, 1650-1900. Boston, MA: Brill.
Breschi, M., Fornasin, A., Gonano, G., Manfredini, M., and Seghieri, C. (2014): «Demographic Responses to Short-Term Economic Stress in North East Italy: Friuli, 18th-19th Century». European Journal of Population 30 (3), pp. 291315.
Butz, W.P., and Ward, M.P. (1979): «The Emergence of Counter-Cyclical U.S. Fertility». American Economic Review 69 (3), pp. 318328.
Campbell, C., Lee, J.Z., Bengtsson, T. (2004): «Economic Stress and Mortality», in Bengtsson, T., Campbell, C. and Lee, J.Z. et al. (eds.), Life Under Pressure. Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1910. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 61105.
Catalán, E., and Lanza, R. (2015): «Alimentación, carestías y crisis de mortalidad en la España cantábrica (1680-1860)». Historia Agraria 67, pp. 1142.
Chesnais, J.C. (1983): «La notion de cycle en démographie. La fécondité post-transitionnelle est-elle cyclique?» Population (French Edition) 38 (2), pp. 361390.
Clark, G. (2007): A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Coale, A. (1973): «The Demographic Transition Reconsidered». In: International Population Conference, vol. 1. International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, Liège, pp. 5572.
Crimmins, E.M., and Finch, C.E. (2006): «Infection, Inflammation, Height, and Longevity». PNAS 103 (2), pp. 498503.
De Cooman, E., Ermisch, J., and Joshi, H. (1987): «The Next Birth and the Labour Market: A Dynamic Model of Births in England and Wales». Population Studies 41 (2), pp. 237268.
Demeny, P. (1986): «Pronatalist Policies in Low-Fertility Countries: Patterns, Performance, and Prospects». Population and Development Review 12S, pp. 335358.
Dribe, M. (2003): «Dealing with Economic Stress through Migration: Lessons from Nineteenth Century Rural Sweden». European Review of Economic History 7 (3), pp. 271299.
Dribe, M., and Scalone, F. (2010): «Detecting Deliberate Fertility Control in Pre-Transitional Populations: Evidence from Six German Villages, 1766-1863». European Journal of Population 26 (4), pp. 411434.
Easterlin, R.A. (1961): «The American Baby Boom in Historical Perspective». American Economic Review 51 (5), pp. 869911.
Easterlin, R.A. (1973): «Relative Economic Status and the American Fertility Swing», in Sheldon, E.B. (ed.), Family Economic Behavior: Problems and Prospects. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, pp. 97127.
Easterlin, R.A. (1976): «The Conflict Between Aspirations and Resources». Population and Development Review 2, pp. 417425.
Easterlin, R.A. (1987): «Easterlin Hypothesis», in Eatwell, J., Milgate, M. and Newman, P. (eds.), Family Economic Behavior: Problems and Prospects. New York, NY: Stockton Press, pp. 14.
Ermisch, J.F. (1979): «The Relevance of the «Easterlin Hypothesis» and the «New Home Economics» to Fertility Movements in Great Britain». Population Studies 33 (1), pp. 3958.
Ermisch, J.F. (1980): «Time Costs, Aspirations and the Effect of Economic Growth on German Fertility». Oxford Bulletin of Economic and Statistics 42 (2), pp. 125143.
Fleury, M., and Henry, L. (1956): Des registres paroissiaux à l'histoire de la population. Manuel de dépouillement et d'exploitation d l’état civil ancien. Paris: Institut National d’Études Démographiques.
Gállego Martínez, D. (2004): «La formación de los precios del trigo en España (1820-1869): el contexto internacional». Historia Agraria 34, pp. 61102.
Galloway, P.R. (1987): «Differentials in Demographic Responses to Annual Price Variations in Pre-Revolutionary France». European Journal of Population 2 (3-4), pp. 269305.
Galloway, P.R. (1988): «Basic Patterns in Annual Variations in Fertility, Nuptiality, Mortality, and Prices in Pre-Industrial Europe». Population Studies 42 (2), pp. 275303.
Galloway, P.R. (1993): «Short-run Population Dynamics among Rich and Poor in European Countries, Rural Jutland, and Urban Rouen», in Reher, D. and Schofield, R.S. (eds.), Old and New Methods in Historical Demography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 84108.
Germán Zubero, L. (1984): Aragón durante la II República. Estructura económica y comportamiento político. Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico.
Goldstein, J.R., Sobotka, T., and Jasilioniene, A. (2009): «The End of «Lowest-Low» Fertility?» Population and Development Review 35 (4), pp. 663699.
Harding, S.F. (1984): Remaking Ibieca: Rural Life in Aragon under Franco. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Caroline Press.
Henry, L. (1956): Anciennes familles genevoises. Étude démographique: XVIe-XXe Siècle. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
Henry, L. (1961): «Some Data on Natural Fertility». Eugenics Quarterly 8 (2), pp. 8191.
Hodrick, R.J., and Prescott, E.C. (1997) «Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation». Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 29 (1), pp. 116.
Jennings, J.A., Quaranta, L., and Bengtsson, T. (2017): «Inequality and Demographic Response to Short-Term Economic Stress in North Orkney, Scotland, 1855-1910: Sector Differences». Population Studies 71 (3), pp. 313328.
Jensen, R., and Thornton, R. (2003): «Early Female Marriage in the Developing World». Gender & Development 11 (2), pp. 919.
Kreyenfeld, M. (2010): «Uncertainties in Female Employment Careers and the Postponement of Parenthood in Germany». European Sociological Review 26 (3), pp. 351366.
Lee, R.D. (1981): «Short-term Variation: Vital Rates, Prices and Weather», in Wrigley, E.A. and Schofield, R.S. (eds.), The Population History of England 1541–1871: A Reconstruction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 356401.
Lee, R. (1985): «Population Homeostasis and English Demographic History». Journal of Interdisciplinary History 15 (4), pp. 635660.
Lesthaeghe, R. (1983): «A Century of Demographic and Cultural Change in Western Europe: An Exploration of Underlying Dimensions». Population and Development Review 9 (3), pp. 411435.
Lundh, C., Kurosu, S. et al. (2014): Similarity in Difference. Marriage in Europe and Asia, 1700-1910. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Macfarlane, A. (1993): Marriage and Love in England, 1300-1840. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Nicolau, R. (2005): «Población, salud y actividad», in Carreras, A. A, and Tafunell, X. (eds.), Estadísticas Históricas de España: siglos XIX-XX. Bilbao: Fundación BBVA, pp. 77154.
Pampel, F.C. (1993): «Relative Cohort Size and Fertility: The Socio-Political Context of the Easterlin Effect». American Sociological Review 58 (4), pp. 496514.
Peiró, A. (1987): «El mercado de cereales y aceite aragoneses (siglos XVII-XX)». Agricultura & Sociedad 43, pp. 213241.
Pérez Moreda, V. (1988): «Respuestas demográficas ante la coyuntura económica en la España rural del Antiguo Régimen». Revista de Demografía Histórica 6 (3), pp. 81118.
Quaranta, L. (2013): Scarred for Life. How Conditions in Early Life Affect Socioeconomic Status, Reproduction and Mortality in Southern Sweden, 1813-1968. Lund: Lund Studies in Economic History 59.
Quaranta, L. (2014): «Early Life Effects across the Life Course: The Impact of Individually Defined Exogenous Measured of Disease Exposure on Mortality by Sex in 19th and 20th Century Southern Sweden». Social Sciences & Medicine 119, pp. 266273.
Reher, D.S. (1988): «Fluctuaciones económicas y comportamiento demográfico en la España urbana». Revista de Demografía Histórica 6 (3), pp. 5180.
Reher, D.S. (1990): Town and Country in Pre-Industrial Spain: Cuenca, 1540-1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Reher, D.S., and Ortega, J.A. (2000): «Malthus Revisited: Exploring Medium-Range Interactions Between Economic and Demographic Forces in Historical Europe», in Bengtsson, T. and Saito, O. (eds.), Population and Economy. From Hunger to Transitional Economic Growth. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 183212.
Reher, D.S., and Sanz-Gimeno, A. (2000): «Mortality and Economic Development over the Course of Modernization: An Analysis of Short-Run Fluctuations in Spain, 1850-1990». Population Studies 54 (2), pp. 135152.
Reher, D.S., and Sanz-Gimeno, A. (2007): «Rethinking Historical Reproductive Change: Insights from Longitudinal Data for a Spanish Town». Population and Development Review 33 (4), pp. 703727.
Reher, D.S., and Sandström, G. (2015): «Dimensions of Rational Decision-Making during the Demographic Transition; Aranjuez (Spain) Revisited». Historical Life Course Studies 2, pp. 2036.
Reher, D.S., Sandström, G., Sanz-Gimeno, A., and Van Poppel, F.W. (2017): «Agency in Fertility Decisions in Western Europe during the Demographic Transition: A Comparative Perspective». Demography 54 (1), pp. 322.
Rindfuss, R.R., Morgan, S.P., and Swicegood, G. (1988): First Births in America. Changes in the Timing of Parenthood. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Sánchez-Albornoz, N., and Carnero, T. (1975): Los precios agrícolas durante la segunda mitad del siglo XIX. Volumen I: Trigo y cebada. Madrid: Servicio de Estudios del Banco de España.
Sobotka, T., Skirbekk, V., and Philipov, D. (2011): «Economic Recession and Fertility in the Developed World». Population and Development Review 37 (2), 267306.
Teitelbaum, M.S., and Winter, J.M. (1985): The Fear of Population Decline. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Therneau, T.M., and Grambsch, P.M. (2000): Modelling Survival Data. Extending the Cox Model. New York: Springer.
Tsuya, N.O., Feng, W., Alter, G., Lee, J.Z. et al. (2010): Prudence and Pressure. Reproductive and Human Agency in Europa and Asia. 1700-1910. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Van Bavel, J., and Kok, J. (2010): «A Mixed Effects Model of Birth Spacing for Pre-Transition Populations: Evidence of Deliberate Fertility Control from Nineteenth Century Netherlands». The History of the Family 15 (2), pp. 125138.
Van Poppel, F., Reher, D.S., Sanz-Gimeno, A., Sanchez-Dominguez, M., and Beekink, E. (2012): «Mortality Decline and Reproductive Change during the Dutch Demographic Transition: Revisiting a Traditional Debate with New Data». Demographic Research 27, pp. 299338.
Wrigley, E.A., and Schofield, R. (1981): The Population History of England, 1541-1871: A Reconstruction. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.



  • Francisco J. Marco-Gracia (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed