Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Unmarried adolescents and filial assistance in eighteenth-century Flanders

Lambrecht, Thijs A. (2011): Unmarried adolescents and filial assistance in eighteenth-century Flanders. Forthcoming in: (2012)

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Abstract

Service was one of the main characteristics of the European Marriage Pattern in pre-industrial western Europe. During this stage of the life cycle adolescents could acquire the material assets and skills that were required to marry and start an independent household. Whilst in service, servants could save between 40 and 60 per cent of their cash wage. This paper illustrates that servants also used their earnings to assist their families. Parents of servants in particular could rely on both remittances in cash and in kind. As such, placing children in service was also a source of income for peasant household in Flanders. I argue that both patterns of land ownership and the restricted access to welfare ressources explain why servants displayed this altruistic behaviour.

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