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Primogeniture, Monogamy and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society

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  • Ted Bergstrom

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. The paper models a simple stratified society and defines the reproductive values of male and female nobility relative to that of commoners. It goes on to explore implications of the hypothesis that preferences have evolved to favor maximization of reproductive value. This hypothesis is tested against fragmentary data from ancient civilizations and quite detailed information about the British aristocracy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This work has been heavily influenced by theoretical discussions and empirical evidence found in the writings of an anthropologist, Laura Betzig, and an historian Lawrence Stone.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Meeting papers with number 9410001.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 08 Oct 1994
Date of revision: 10 Oct 1994
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpme:9410001

Note: 33 pages
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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References

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  1. Theodore C. Bergstrom, . "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," ELSE working papers 017, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  2. Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-81, June.
  3. Lloyd Bonfield, 1979. "Marriage Settlements and the “Rise of Great Estates”: The Demographic Aspect," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 32(4), pages 483-493, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Ted Bergstrom, 1995. "Economic in a Family Way," Papers _028, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  2. Avi Simhon & Eric D. Gould & Omer Moav, 2005. "The Mystery of Monogamy," 2005 Meeting Papers 370, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. 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.
  4. Ian Smith, 2003. "The Law and Economics of Marriage Contracts," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 201-226, 04.
  5. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2003. "Why Dowries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1385-1398, September.
  6. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2003. "The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3723, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Ted Bergstrom, 2001. "Evolution of Behavior in Family Games," Game Theory and Information 0106003, EconWPA.
  9. Bergstrom, T., 1995. "Economics of a Family Way," Papers 95-07, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.

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