The Effects of Polygamy and Prohibition of Women's Remarriage on the Net Reproduction Rate: 1600-1900

Kwangryeol Baek , The Academy of Korean Studies
Keong suk Park, Seoul National University
Heejin Park, Kyungpook National University

The late marriage is well known as a birth control mechanism in traditional Europe. In East Asia, such as China, Japan, and Korea, the marriage age was much lower than in Europe, but the birth rate was not so high. However, little has been studied about the birth control mechanisms in East Asia. Chinese and Japanese female infanticide customs have been pointed out as the cause, but it is a positive check with the next generation's birth control function, not the immediate birth control mechanism. This paper examines the effects of social regulation on the prohibition of female remarriage after the death of a male spouse in traditional Korea (Joseon) and the effects of de facto polygamy on fertility rates as a birth control mechanism. This practice is related to the Confucian ideology of female fidelity or male predominance.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course