Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings
AbstractSub-Saharan Africa has a high incidence of polygyny. It is also the poorest region of the world. In this paper I ask whether banning polygyny could play any role for development. Using a quantitative model of polygyny, I find that enforcing monogamy lowers fertility, shrinks the spousal age gap, and reverses the direction of marriage payments. Polygyny leads to high bride-prices to "ration" women, which makes buying wives and selling daughters a good investment, thus crowding out investment in physical assets. For reasonable parameter values, I find that banning polygyny decreases fertility by 40 percent, increases savings by 70 percent, and increases output per capita by 170 percent.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.
Volume (Year): 113 (2005)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/
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