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Intensity of Agricultural Workload and the Seasonality of Births in Italy

  • Gabriele RuiuEmail author
  • Marco Breschi
Article
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Abstract

According to “the energy balance mechanism” theory, female ovarian function is strongly hindered by even a modest negative energy balance (the difference between calorie intake and calorie consumption). Agriculture-based economies were characterized by periods of extremely intense workload (especially in summer when grain was harvested) without sufficient nutrition. We analyze the role of the intensity of agricultural workload (proxied by marriage seasonality) on seasonal oscillations in births. Using data at the regional level, from Italian Unification to the eve of the World War I, we find some empirical support for the energy balance theory. In particular, we find the strength of the relationship between marriage seasonality and birth seasonality to be lower in the more developed Northern part of the Italian country, in which some signs of industrialization had already been present.

Keywords

Seasonality of births Seasonality of marriages Energy balance Economic development Agricultural calendar 

Notes

Funding

The research activity carried out by Gabriele Ruiu has been in part financed by the “Fondo per il finanziamento dei dipartimenti universitari di eccellenza” (Law nr. 232/2016).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

This research has not involved human and animal participants.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and BusinessUniversity of SassariSassariItaly

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