Historical Demography of the Domestic Cycle: Exploratory Analysis of the Relationship between Family Organization, Patriarchy, and Well-Being in Preindustrial Eurasia, 1700-1926

Mikolaj Szoltysek , The Cardinal Wyszynski University of Warsaw
Bartosz Ogórek, Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences

This paper explores one of historical demography's unpursued topics: the fluctuation of economic well-being over the domestic cycle in preindustrial Eurasia. Following early insights of Chayanov and Rowntree both arguing that households can be expected to move across levels of well-being as they progress through the domestic cycle, we compute age-specific consumer-to-producer (C/P) ratios for a wide range of historical societies spanning from Catalonia, to Siberia and northeast China, between 1700 and 1926. Using census microdata from the Mosaic and the North Atlantic Population projects, as well as China Multi-Generational Panel Dataset (Shuangcheng), we reconstruct the C/P patterns for over 300 historical populations and map their distribution over space and time. This will be supplemented with comparing household well-being cycles between different forms of family organisation (nuclear, stem, joint), and between societies with different intensity of historical patriarchy as assessed through the Patriarchy Index (Gruber and Szoltysek 2016). Methodology will rely on creating synthetic cohorts for all quinquennial age-groups between 20 and 65+, with household heads as reference persons. All household members in these groups of households will be assigned age- and sex-based weights that are intended to approximate the relative nutritional needs and energetic outputs of individuals, following the scheme suggested by Hammel (2005). The production and consumption weights will then be summed over all of the household members in particular cohort and the summed consumption weights are divided by the summed production weights to create the household-level C/P ratio.

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 Presented in Session 26. Historical Family Demograhy