MPIDR Working Paper

Culture revisited: a geographic analysis of fertility decline in Prussia

Goldstein, J. R., Kl├╝sener, S.

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2010-012, 31 pages (February 2010).
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

This working paper has been published. See the link above for further information.

Keywords: German Empire, culture, diffusion of innovations, economics, fertility decline, spatial analysis


In this paper, we re-introduce geography into the analysis of fertility decline in the first demographic transition in Europe. We reanalyze Galloway et al.'s (1994) Prussian data, fitting structural models similar to those of Galloway et al. to the data and to map the residuals. Our findings give evidence both of the predictive effect of economic as well as cultural variables. However, although testing different non-spatial model specifications, a significant unexplained geographic clustering of fertility decline always remains. Indeed, adjacency to an area of large fertility decline and location along communication and transport corridors seem to be important predictors of fertility decline beyond what one would expect from structural models. This gives support to the cultural diffusion hypothesis of the Princeton European Fertility Project.