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African polygamy: Past and present

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  • James Fenske

Abstract

Motivated by a simple model, I use DHS data to test nine hypotheses about the prevalence and decline of African polygamy. First, greater female involvement in agriculture does not increase polygamy. Second, past inequality better predicts polygamy today than does current inequality. Third, the slave trade only predicts polygamy across broad regions. Fourth, modern female education does not reduce polygamy. Colonial schooling does. Fifth, economic growth has eroded polygamy. Sixth and seventh, rainfall shocks and war increase polygamy, though their effects are small. Eighth, polygamy varies smoothly over borders, national bans notwithstanding. Finally, falling child mortality has reduced polygamy.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2012-20.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2012-20

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Cited by:
  1. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske, 2014. "Conflict and the Formation of Political Beliefs in Africa," HiCN Working Papers 164, Households in Conflict Network.
  2. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Pogge, Thomas, 2012. "Ethical and Economic Perspectives on Global Health Interventions," IZA Policy Papers 38, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Flatø, Martin & Kotsadam, Andreas, 2014. "Droughts and Gender Bias in Infant Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa," Memorandum 02/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  4. Dalton, John & Leung, Tin Cheuk, 2013. "Dispersion and Distortions in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade," MPRA Paper 48224, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402 Elsevier.
  6. Collins, Julia C. & Foltz, Jeremy D., 2013. "Gender Production Differentials In Africa," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150130, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  7. James Fenske, 2012. "Ecology, Trade and States in Pre-Colonial Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPF/2012-18, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske, 2013. "War, resilience and political engagement in Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  10. Sonia Bhalotra & Thomas Pogge, 2012. "Ethical and Economic Perspectives on Global Health Interventions Abstract: Interventions that improve childhood health directly improve the quality of life and, in addition, have multiplier effects, p," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/286, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.

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