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Capital WomenThe European Marriage Pattern, Female Empowerment and Economic Development in Western Europe 1300-1800$
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Jan Luiten van Zanden, Sarah Carmichael, and Tine De Moor

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190847883

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190847883.001.0001

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The Effects on Human Capital Formation

The Effects on Human Capital Formation

(p.59) 3 The Effects on Human Capital Formation
Capital Women

Jan Luiten

Oxford University Press

New evidence from Flanders and the Netherlands demonstrates that age heaping was gradually diminishing in large parts of the Low Countries during the sixteenth century, that (unexpectedly) almost no gender gap was apparent during this period (women even outperforming men at times), and that differences between town and country were small. These findings suggest an early rise in numeracy (or at least a “number sense”) in both urban and rural areas, linked to demographic change and commercial development. Between 1600 and 1800, however, Flanders in particular seems to have lost its strong distinctiveness in this regard. In this chapter the authors also contribute to the literature on human capital formation by investigating age references in early modern portraits from the Low Countries. They use the very popular aetatis formulae to estimate to what degree sitters for portraits were able to give their age in an accurate way. This approach permits an estimate of the numeracy of single men and women, as well as of couples who commissioned pair portraits to commemorate their marriages.

Keywords:   numeracy, age heaping, human capital, literacy, portraits, female educational attainment

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