Using Microsimulation to Estimate the Impact of Crisis Mortality on the Marriage Market. An Application to the Historical Demography of Roman Italy

Saskia Hin, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Demographic microsimulation has been used very successfully to model the dynamics of kinship structure in historical and contemporary populations. One of the main limitations of current approaches is the calibration process, which typically requires ad hoc solutions. We propose a method to calibrate demographic microsimulation to historical records and we apply it to the case of ancient Roman Italy. We evaluate the impact that the Punic wars had on population growth via both mortality of soldiers and the indirect effect on fertility rates resulting from a form of marriage squeeze. Preliminary results indicate that when male mortality perturbed marriage markets, the share of Roman women unable to find a partner increased substantially. As a result, fertility for the women bound to get married during the war decreased dramatically. Although the impact on population growth was transitory, it took several decades before the population size returned to the pre-war levels.

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Presented in Poster Session 9