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Primogeniture, Monogamy, and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society

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  • Ted Bergstrom

    ()
    (University of Michigan, Economic)

Abstract

This paper explores the workings of stratified societies in which there is primogeniture and where the nobility practice monogamous marriage with a double standard of sexual fidelity. We model a simple stratified society and define the reproductive values of the male and female nobility relative to that of commoners. We then explore implications of the hypothesis that preferences have evolved to favor maximization of reproductive value. The hypothesis is tested against fragmentary data from ancient civilizations and quite detailed information about the British aristocracy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Department of Economics in its series Papers with number _031.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:michec:_031

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Keywords: Primogeniture; evolution; marriage; straified society;

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  1. Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-81, June.
  2. Ted Bergstrom, . "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," Papers _023, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 1999. "Why Dowries?," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 95, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  2. Deby Cassill, 2003. "Skew Selection: Nature Favors a Trickle-Down Distribution of Resources in Ants," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 83-96, May.
  3. Theodore C. Bergstrom, . "Economics in a Family Way," ELSE working papers 018, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  4. Gould, Eric D. & Moav, Omer & Simhon, Avi, 2003. "The Mystery Of Monogamy," Discussion Papers 14992, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management.
  5. Graziella Bertocchi, 2006. "The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 43-70, 03.
  6. Bergstrom, T., 1995. "Evolution of Bihavior in Family Games," Papers 95-08, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  7. Aloysius Siow & Xiaodong Zhu, 2002. "Differential Fecundity and Gender-Biased Parental Investments in Health," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 999-1024, October.
  8. Ian Smith, 2003. "The Law and Economics of Marriage Contracts," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 201-226, 04.

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