Socioeconomic Consequences of the Fertility Transition: Sibling Exposure and Intergenerational Social Mobility in Stockholm 1878 – 1926

Joseph Molitoris, Lund University

Using a longitudinal register for Stockholm during its fertility transition, this paper examines how sibling exposure was associated with child quality via social mobility over time and across socioeconomic groups. This is a greatly under-researched topic for this period, which is surprising considering the prominent role of intergenerational transfers in several theories of fertility decline (e.g. Becker and Lewis 1973; Caldwell 1976). This study has found that there was virtually no mobility penalty for children born into larger families during the earliest phases of the fertility decline. It was only for children born in last decade of the nineteenth century that the relationship emerged, and only for individuals with more than two surviving siblings. Furthermore, children from lower socioeconomic classes suffered a greater mobility penalty than those from higher classes. This study suggests that this relationship emerged as the demand for education increased due to the Stockholm's continued economic growth.

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Presented in Session 214: Fertility and Family Formation in Europe, 1750 to the Present