Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers

Contents:

Author Info

  • Ingela Alger

    ()

  • Donald Cox

    ()

Abstract

What can evolutionary biology tell us about male-female differences in preferences concerning family matters? Might mothers be more solicitous toward offspring than fathers, for example? The economics literature has documented gender differences—children benefit more from money put in the hands of mothers rather than fathers, for example—and these differences are thought to be partly due to preferences. Yet for good reason family economics is mostly concerned with how prices and incomes affect behavior against a backdrop of exogenous preferences. Evolutionary biology complements this approach by treating preferences as the outcome of natural selection. We mine the well-developed biological literature to make a prima facie case for evolutionary roots of parental preferences. We consider the most rudimentary of traits—sex differences in gamete size and internal fertilization—and explain how they have been thought to generate male-female differences in altruism toward children and other preferences related to family behavior. The evolutionary approach to the family illuminates connections between issues typically thought distinct in family economics, such as parental care and marriage markets. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11150-013-9201-1
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Economics of the Household.

Volume (Year): 11 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 421-446

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:11:y:2013:i:3:p:421-446

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=109451

Related research

Keywords: Altruism; Parental care; Evolution; Reproductive success; Paternity; Sex ratios; D1; D13; J12; J13; J16; Z13;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Nicolas Vaillant & François-Charles Wolff, 2011. "Positive and negative preferences in human mate selection," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 273-291, June.
  2. Eddie Dekel & Jeffrey C. Ely & Okan Yilankaya, 2007. "Evolution of Preferences -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 685-704.
  3. Matthias Doepke & Michele Tertilt, 2014. "Does Female Empowerment Promote Economic Development?," Working Papers 2014-002, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  4. Nick Netzer, 2009. "Evolution of Time Preferences and Attitudes toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 937-55, June.
  5. Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2005. "Sex, equality, and growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 807-831, August.
  6. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511 - 564.
  7. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," CEPR Discussion Papers 6144, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Ingela Alger & Jörgen Weibull, 2009. "Kinship, Incentives and Evolution," Working Papers hal-00435431, HAL.
  9. Arthur J. Robson, 2001. "Why Would Nature Give Individuals Utility Functions?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 900-929, August.
  10. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 1996. "Economics in a Family Way," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1903-1934, December.
  11. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, And Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292, February.
  12. Grossbard-Shechtman, Amyra, 1986. "Economic behavior, marriage and fertility : Two lessons from polygyny," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 415-424, December.
  13. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  14. Grafen, Alan, 2000. "A biological approach to economics through fertility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 241-248, March.
  15. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2008. "On the Potential of Neuroeconomics: A Critical (but Hopeful) Appraisal," NBER Working Papers 13954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2003. "From Individual to Aggregate Labor Supply: A Quantitative Analysis Based on a Heterogeneous Agent Macroeconomy," Macroeconomics 0307003, EconWPA.
  17. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
  18. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
  19. Ian Smith, 2012. "Reinterpreting the economics of extramarital affairs," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 319-343, September.
  20. Qingyuan Du & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "A Sexually Unbalanced Model of Current Account Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 16000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  22. Ingela Alger, 2010. "Corrigendum: Public Goods Games, Altruism, and Evolution," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(6), pages 1135-1135, December.
  23. Peter Arcidiacono & Andrew Beauchamp & Marjorie B. McElroy, 2012. "Terms of Endearment: An Equilibrium Model of Sex and Matching," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000608, David K. Levine.
  24. Doepke, Matthias & Tertilt, Michèle, 2008. "Women's Liberation: What's in It for Men?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6771, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Dekel, Eddie & Ely, Jeffrey & Yilankaya, Okan, 2004. "Evolution of Preferences," Microeconomics.ca working papers dekel-04-08-13-01-21-07, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 09 Jun 2006.
  26. Luis Rayo & Gary S. Becker, 2007. "Evolutionary Efficiency and Happiness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 302-337.
  27. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1990. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 529-44, June.
  28. Imran Rasul, 2006. "The Economics of Child Custody," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(289), pages 1-25, 02.
  29. Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Differential Fecundity, Markets, and Gender Roles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 334-354, April.
  30. David Bishai & Shoshana Grossbard, 2010. "Far above rubies: Bride price and extramarital sexual relations in Uganda," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 1177-1187, September.
  31. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1995. "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 58-81, March.
  32. Raymond Fisman & Sheena S. Iyengar & Emir Kamenica & Itamar Simonson, 2006. "Gender Differences in Mate Selection: Evidence from a Speed Dating Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 673-697, May.
  33. Frank, Robert H, 1987. "If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 593-604, September.
  34. Mukesh Eswaran & Ashok Kotwal, 2004. "A theory of gender differences in parental altruism," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 918-950, November.
  35. Günter Hitsch & Ali Hortaçsu & Dan Ariely, 2010. "What makes you click?—Mate preferences in online dating," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 393-427, December.
  36. Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2007. "The Dynamic Evolution of Preferences," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 251-286, August.
  37. Ingela Alger, 2009. "Public Goods Games, Altruism, and Evolution," Carleton Economic Papers 09-06, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Feb 2010.
  38. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Grossbard, Shoshana & Mukhopadhyay, Sankar, 2012. "Children, Spousal Love, and Happiness: An Economic Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 7119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Grossbard, Shoshana & Vernon, Victoria, 2014. "Common Law Marriage and Male/Female Convergence in Labor Supply and Time Use," IZA Discussion Papers 7937, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:11:y:2013:i:3:p:421-446. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.