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IRES Lunch Seminar - Guillaume Blanc (Brown University)
By IRES Lunch Seminar

Guillaume Blanc

(Brown University)

will give a presentation on

Modernization before Industrialization: Cultural Roots of the Demographic Transition in France


This research identifies the origins of the early demographic transition in France, before the French Revolution and more than a century before the rest of Europe. We provide strong empirical evidence suggesting that secularization accounts for the bulk of the decline in fertility and document large, significant, and robust results across specifications, datasets, and estimation methods. We draw on a novel individual-level historical dataset crowdsourced from publicly available genealogies to establish a causal interpretation. This dataset allows to control for time-varying unobservables, to study the effect of secularization before and after demographic change, and to exploit the choice of migrants in the aftermath of the decline in religiosity. Finally, we discuss the roots of the rapid and early process of secularization and suggest that the strength of the Counter Reformation following the demise of Protestantism in France played an important part. Our findings demonstrate that cultural change and the transition to modernity and away from tradition can shape development.

11 February
12:45 - 14:00
IRES, D 109
3 Place Montesquieu
Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Wallonie