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The battle of the sexes over the distribution of male surplus

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  • Wooders, Myrna
  • Berg, Hugo van den

Abstract

Female primates carry and nurse the fetus, and thus have the first responsibility for rearing the offspring. Assuming males are at least equally adept at obtaining food, males might either share surplus food with females or consume the food themselves. The distribution of this surplus is the subject of a battle of the sexes. If females succeed in obtaining a large share of the surplus, then there is little size dimorphism between males and females; otherwise males might use the surplus themselves to become larger and stronger, and to engage in sexual competition with other males. Besides competing with males, females may compete with each other. Dependency may coincide with sexual competitiveness (sexiness). This paper introduces these ideas in a game theoretic setting and derives a simple bound, called the ‘female condition, on the male ‘sexiness’ required for a nonsupportive strategy to be worthwhile.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 610.

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Length: 11 pages
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:610

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Keywords: EVOLUTION ; BATTLE OF THE SEXES ; MALE PARENTAL SUPPORT ; SEXUAL SIZE ; DIMORPHISM ; FEMALE DEPENDENCY ; POLYGYNY;

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  1. Aloysius Siow, 1996. "Differential Fecundity, Markets and Gender Roles," Working Papers siow-96-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Arthur J. Robson & Hillard S. Kaplan, 2003. "The Evolution of Human Life Expectancy and Intelligence in Hunter-Gatherer Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 150-169, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Wooders, Myrna & Berg, Hugo van den, 2001. "Female competition, evolution, and the battle of the sexes," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 620, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Evelyn Korn, 2008. "Zerstört der Sozialstaat die Familie?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(2), pages 156-172, 05.

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