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The Mystery of Monogamy

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  • Avi Simhon

    ()
    (Agricultural Economics and Management The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • Eric D. Gould
  • Omer Moav

Abstract

We examine why developed societies are monogamous while rich men throughout history have typically practiced polygyny. Wealth inequality naturally produces multiple wives for rich men in a standard model of the marriage market. However, we demonstrate that higher female inequality in the marriage market reduces polygyny. Moreover, we show that female inequality increases in the process of development as women are valued more for the quality of their children than for the quantity. Consequently, male inequality generates inequality in the number of wives per man in traditional societies, but manifests itself as inequality in the quality of wives in developed societies. (JEL J12, J16, J24, Z13)

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2005 Meeting Papers with number 370.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed005:370

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Related research

Keywords: Marriage; Monogamy; Polygyny; Human Capital;

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References

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  1. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1995. "The Economics of Polygyny in Sub-Saharan Africa: Female Productivity and the Demand for Wives in Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 938-71, October.
  2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 1999. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality in the Process of Development," Working Papers 99-27, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert F. Tamura, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Raquel Fernández & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2005. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 273-344, January.
  6. Ted Bergstrom, . "Primogeniture, Monogamy, and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society," Papers _025, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  7. Nils-Petter Lagerlof, 2002. "Sex, Equality, and Growth (in that order)," GE, Growth, Math methods 0212001, EconWPA.
  8. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  9. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Moav, Omer, 2001. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 3059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 1998. "Ability Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality, and Economic Growth," Working Papers 98-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  12. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 2000. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," NBER Working Papers 7508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "On the Economics of Polygyny," Microeconomics 9410001, EconWPA.
  14. Kremer, M., 1996. "How Much Does Sorting Increase Inequality?," Working papers 96-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  16. David Lam & Suzanne Duryea, 1999. "Effects of Schooling on Fertility, Labor Supply, and Investments in Children, with Evidence from Brazil," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 160-192.
  17. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
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  1. Why has monogamy prevailed?
    by nawmsayn in ZeeConomics on 2014-05-11 14:49:27

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  1. > Demographic Economics > The Economics of Polygamy
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