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The Children of Eve: Population and Well-Being in History

Год выпуска: 2012
Автор: Louis P. Cain and Donald G. Paterson

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

The Children of Eve is the first single volume book to bring together general material on population issues, as it explores the subject of contemporary population in a historical context. The book presents a world history of economic and demographic change that ranges broadly over time and space, while simultaneously emphasizing the well-being of the population. By choosing a large canvas, the authors stress the commonality of human experience: that different people, at different times, and in varying circumstances have responded to similar economic forces in more or less the same way.

The book highlights the formative population history of Europe and North America over the years since the Middle Ages. Asia and the southern hemisphere are also discussed within the text. The authors have written in non-technical language and successfully maintain the difficult balance of addressing complex issues in a style that doesn't over-simplify the subject, whilst upholding an approach that is accessible to general readers and students.Throughout the text, definitions and short explanations of economic and demographic terminology are presented in separate boxes to enhance ease of use, and each chapter concludes with a bibliography and selected readings.


Cain and Paterson draw a vivid picture of the human parade in The Children of Eve. From our troglodytic beginnings to the rise of mass prosperity, they guide us through trends in human well-being with an impressive variety of data. To understand how we came to our current state, and what we should do about urgent demographic issues that range from the threat of epidemic disease to actuarial soundness of public pensions, start here.

-John E. Murray, Rhodes College

The Children of Eve is a fascinating and wide-ranging book about the forces that affected changes in the world's population from hunter- gatherers to modern families. It is a riveting read that draws a marvelous array of evidence from around the world. It will appeal to anyone (both academics and non-academics) curious about the dramatic changes over time in such topics as mortality, fertility and health.

-Gillian Hamilton, University of Toronto


Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. (Choice, 1 March 2013)


With a heavy dose of historical dialogue, the authors examine contemporary population patterns intertwined with economic and demographic themes to understand the human condition Their goal is splendidly accomplished Summing up: highly recommended; all levels/libraries. (Choice, 1 March 2013)


This book explores contemporary population issues in a historical context. It is a world economic history of demographic change with emphasis on the well-being of the population. Exploring the years since the Middle Ages, this unique book emphasizes the commonality of human experience illustrating how different people, at different times, in varying circumstances, responded to similar economic forces in more of less the same way.


The Children of Eve is the first book to bring together general material about population and well-being in a single volume. It presents a world history of demographic and economic change that ranges broadly over time and space and which emphasizes the commonality of human experience.
  • The first book to put together material about population and well-being in a single volume
  • Emphasizes the formative population history of Europe and North America over the years since the Middle Ages, and includes discussions of Asia and the southern hemisphere
  • The authors successfully maintain the difficult balance of addressing complex issues in a style that doesn't over-simplify the subject, whilst upholding an approach that is accessible to general readers and students
  • Designed to work as both a stand alone text or a supplement to textbooks in any number of courses

About the Author

Louis P. Cain is Professor of Economics at Loyola University Chicago, Adjunct Professor of Economics at Northwestern University, Senior Investigator at the Center for Population Economics, University of Chicago, and Research Economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern. With the late Jonathan Hughes, he is the author of American Economic History, now in its 8th edition (2011). His research includes projects on urban mortality, urban sanitation, industrial development, and the economic history of Chicago. He has served as a trustee of the Economic History Association and the Business History Conference, and as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Cliometric Society.

Donald G. Paterson is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of British Columbia. He received his D.Phil from the University of Sussex and held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge. He is the author (with William L Marr) of Canada: An Economic History (1980) and has published widely in the areas of history of international investment, economic history of natural resource use, history of US technical change, macro-economic history of Canada, and business history.

Cain and Paterson previously co-authored two articles on biased technological change in The Journal of Economic History.

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables, and Appendices xi

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xviii

Part One Initial Conditions 1

Chapter One Overview 3

1.1 Introduction 3

1.2 Human Origins 7

1.3 The 40 000 Years to 10 000 BC 9

1.4 The Last 12 000 Years 11

1.5 A Few Fundamentals of Population Growth 14

1.6 The Quality and Quantity of Life 15

1.7 The English Parson, Thomas Malthus 17

1.8 Measurement and Inference 19

1.9 The Census 22

A. A Nearly Modern Census 22

B. Modern Censuses 24

C. Some Problems of Early Modern Censuses 25

1.10 Models of Human Behavior 26

1.11 Outline 27

Chapter Two The Historical Setting 31

2.1 Introduction 31

2.2 The Demographic Transition 31

2.3 Structural Transition of the Economy 33

2.4 Long-Run Changes in Economic Well-Being 36

2.5 Net Replacement 40

2.6 Dependency and Participation 43

2.7 How Does the Demographic Transition End or Does It? 45

2.8 Variation 50

2.9 Globalization, Macroeconomics and Population 52

2.10 Institutional Change and Externalities 56

Part Two Growth and Dispersal of the Human Population 63

Chapter Three Mortality: The Fourth Horseman 65

3.1 What Do People Die From? 65

3.2 Infant and Child Mortality 70

3.3 The Probability of Death and Life Expectancy 73

3.4 Seasonal Pattern of Death 82

3.5 Seasonality and Longevity 84

3.6 Urban Mortality 85

3.7 The Mortality Transition: Crude Death Rates 89

Chapter Four The Fertility Transition 98

4.1 The Fertility Transition 98

4.2 The Queen and the Anabaptists 100

4.3 Strategic Choice 102

4.4 When to Marry 106

4.5 The Never Married 111

4.6 Illegitimacy 114

4.7 The Seasonal Pattern of Birth 115

4.8 Disruptions 117

4.9 The Fertility Transition: Crude Birth Rates 118

4.10 Farms and Towns 123

Chapter Five Long Distance Migration 132

5.1 The Migratory Instinct 132

5.2 Whos In and Whos Out 136

5.3 Migration of the Unfree 138

A. Slaves 138

B. Convicts and Indentured Servants 141

C. Child Migrants 144

5.4 The Atlantic: Waves of Immigration 145

5.5 Unbalanced Cargoes 150

5.6 Information and Advertising 152

5.7 Remittances: Then and Now 153

5.8 There and Back Again Reverse Migrations 155

5.9 Diaspora 158

A. The Chinese 158

B. The Irish 162

C. The Jews 164

5.10 The Barriers Go Up 166

5.11 The Walker Thesis, Displacement and Savings 168

5.12 A Final Word on Long Distance Migration 169

Chapter Six Regional Migration 181

6.1 Introduction 181

6.2 The US Westward Movement and Other Frontiers 183

6.3 Urbanization and Industrial Change 188

6.4 The Rural-Urban Shift 191

6.5 Town and Farm and the Changing Economic Role of Children 195

6.6 The Great Black Migration in the US 195

6.7 Declining Regions: Dust Bowls and Yorkshire Coal Mines 198

6.8 Inter-Urban Migration 199

6.9 Migration: In the Neighborhood 200

A. Scotland England 200

B. Canada USA 201

6.10 The Undocumented 203

6.11 Convergence 205

6.12 Summary of Part Two Putting It All Together 207

Part Three Choices and Their Consequences 217

Chapter Seven The Changing Family 219

7.1 Introduction 219

7.2 Courtship and Marriage 221

7.3 Household and Family Size 225

7.4 Child Labor 228

7.5 Family Connections: Networks 234

7.6 Marital Dissolution 236

7.7 Married Womens Property 240

7.8 Poverty: One-Parent Families and Elderly Females 242

Chapter Eight Health and Well-Being 255

8.1 Introduction 255

8.2 Glasgow: Then and Now 256

8.3 Morbidity 257

8.4 Early Populations and Nutrition 262

8.5 Birth Weights 266

8.6 The Human Development Index 267

8.7 Obesity and the BMI 269

8.8 Household Space 274

8.9 Health and Hospital Care Systems 276

Chapter Nine Macroeconomic Effects of the Industrial Transition 286

9.1 Introduction 286

9.2 Shocks and Echoes the Baby Boom 287

9.3 Children and the Saving Shift 288

9.4 Intergenerational Contracts or Life Cycles: Pensions 291

9.5 The Work-Leisure Choice 297

9.6 Time Spent in Household Work 301

9.7 Education and Human Capital 305

Chapter Ten Population Catastrophes 315

10.1 The Nature of Catastrophes 315

10.2 The Greenland Norse and the Easter Islanders 316

10.3 North American Native Indians 318

10.4 Famine 321

10.5 We All Fall Down! Plague 324

10.6 The HIV/AIDS Pandemic 333

10.7 When, Not If? But Not Now! Flu Pandemics 338

10.8 Summary 342

Part Four Conclusions 351

Chapter Eleven Concluding Remarks 353

General and Frequently Referenced Sources 358

Index 360

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