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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)

  • Mariani, Fabio

    ()
    (Université catholique de Louvain)

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6599.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6599

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

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References

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  1. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521887427.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and divorce: changes and their driving forces," Working Paper Series 2007-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. 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.
  6. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnali, M., 1991. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 91-3, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  7. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2009. "On the Origin of the Family," IZA Discussion Papers 4637, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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.
  9. Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2005. "Sex, equality, and growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 807-831, August.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Korn, Evelyn, 2000. " On the Formation of Family Structures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(3-4), pages 357-72, December.
  14. Scott Drewianka, 2008. "Divorce law and family formation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 485-503, April.
  15. Oded Galor, 2005. "Unified Growth Theory," Development and Comp Systems 0504001, EconWPA.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Gaertner,Wulf & Schokkaert,Erik, 2011. "Empirical Social Choice," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107013940.
  19. 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.
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As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
  1. > Demographic Economics > The Economics of Polygamy
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Thomas Baudin & David De La Croix & Paula Gobbi, 2012. "DINKs, DEWKs & Co. Marriage, Fertility and Childlessness in the United States," Working Papers hal-00993307, HAL.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

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