Journal Article

Spatial analysis of the causes of fertility decline in Prussia

Goldstein, J. R., Klüsener, S.
Population and Development Review, 40:3, 497–525 (2014)


This article contributes to the geographic analysis of fertility decline in the demographic transition in Europe. We reanalyze Galloway, Hammel, and Lee's (1994) Prussian data with spatial analysis methods. Our multivariate analysis provides evidence of the predictive effect of both economic and cultural variables. Furthermore, even after all of the observable economic, social, and cultural variables have been controlled for, our findings show that a significant unexplained geographic clustering of fertility decline remains. We then specify spatial econometric models, which show that in addition to economic and cultural factors, socio-geographic factors such as being adjacent to areas of sharp fertility decline are also needed to understand the pattern of fertility decline. These results provide new support for the role of social diffusion in the process, while allowing for the direct structural effects of economic change.

Keywords: German Empire, culture, diffusion of innovations, economics, fertility decline, spatial analysis
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.