Prudence and Pressure: Household Organization and Reproduction in Historical Eurasia

Feng Wang, University of California, Irvine
Noriko Tsuya, Keio University
Satomi Kurosu, Reitaku University
Michel Oris, Université de Genève

Reproduction in historical Eurasia was often compared by two contrasting systems, with a European system based individual rationality and prudence at one end, and a non-European system featured by collective irrationality and pressure at the other. Within such a dichotomy, household organization is seen as a primary mark of system differentiation, as well as a main source for reproductive differences. Using individual, household, and community data from historical population in five Eurasian populations (Belgium, China, Italy, Japan, and Sweden), this study examines the effects of household organizations on reproductive outcomes. Our focus is on the household strategies in each family system and on the ways that household hierarchies prevailed over individual decision-making in reproduction.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 77: Cross-national Perspectives on Family and Fertility