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From polygyny to serial monogamy: a unified theory of marriage institutions

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  • DE LA CROIX, David

    ()
    (Université catholique de Louvain, CORE and IRES, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve)

  • MARIANI, Fabio

    ()
    (Université catholique de Louvain, IRES, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve)

Abstract

Consider an economy populated by males and females, both rich and poor. The society has to choose one of the following marriage institutions: polygyny, strict monogamy, and serial monogamy (divorce and remarriage). After having identified the conditions under which each of these equilibria exists, we show that a rise in the share of rich males can explain a change of regime from polygyny to monogamy. The introduction of serial monogamy follows from a further rise in either the proportion of rich males, or an increase in the proportion of rich females. Strict monogamy is a prerequisite to serial monogamy, as it promotes the upward social mobility of females more than polygyny. We also show that polygyny is compatible with democracy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2012018.

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Date of creation: 09 May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2012018

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Keywords: marriage; polygyny; monogamy; divorce; human capital; political economy;

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  1. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2009. "On the Origin of the Family," IZA Discussion Papers 4637, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Ron J. Lesthaeghe & Lisa Neidert, 2006. "The Second Demographic Transition in the United States: Exception or Textbook Example?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(4), pages 669-698.
  3. Edlund, Lena Cecilia & Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2006. "Individual vs. Parental Consent in Marriage: Implications for Intra-Household Resource Allocation and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 5474, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Victor Hiller & Magali Recoules, 2010. "Divorce decisions, divorce laws and social norms," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 10046, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  5. Barham, Vicky & Devlin, Rose Anne & Yang, Jie, 2009. "A theory of rational marriage and divorce," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 93-106, January.
  6. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1990. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 90-12, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  7. Gaertner,Wulf & Schokkaert,Erik, 2011. "Empirical Social Choice," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107013940, April.
  8. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521887427, April.
  9. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Yoram Weiss, 2006. "Divorce, Remarriage, and Welfare: A General Equilibrium Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 415-426, 04-05.
  10. Todd Schoellman & Michèle Tertilt, 2006. "Marriage Laws and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 295-298, May.
  11. Scott Drewianka, 2008. "Divorce law and family formation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 485-503, April.
  12. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," NBER Working Papers 12944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. David G. Schramm, 2006. "Individual and Social Costs of Divorce in Utah," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 133-151, April.
  14. Oded Galor, 2005. "Unified Growth Theory," Development and Comp Systems 0504001, EconWPA.
  15. Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2005. "Sex, equality, and growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 807-831, August.
  16. Korn, Evelyn, 2000. " On the Formation of Family Structures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(3-4), pages 357-72, December.
  17. Duranton, Gilles & Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Mayneris, Florian, 2010. "The Economics of Clusters: Lessons from the French Experience," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199592203, September.
  18. Anderson, Gary M. & Tollison, Robert D., 1998. "Celestial marriage and earthly rents: Interests and the prohibition of polygamy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 169-181, October.
  19. Lena Edlund & Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2006. "Individual versus Parental Consent in Marriage: Implications for Intra-Household Resource Allocation and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 304-307, May.
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  1. > Demographic Economics > The Economics of Polygamy
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Cited by:
  1. BAUDIN, Thomas & DE LA CROIX, David & GOBBI, Paula, 2012. "DINKs, DEWKs & Co. Marriage, fertility and childlessness in the United States," CORE Discussion Papers 2012051, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Hiller, Victor & Recoules, Magali, 2013. "Changes in divorce patterns: Culture and the law," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 77-87.
  3. Edlund, Lena & Ku, Hyejin, 2011. "The African Slave Trade and the Curious Case of General Polygyny," MPRA Paper 52735, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Dec 2013.
  4. WUNSCH, Guillaume & MOUCHART, Michel & RUSSO, Federica, 2012. "Functions and mechanisms in structural-modelling explanations," CORE Discussion Papers 2012056, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).

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