IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers

  • Ingela Alger

    ()

  • Donald Cox

    ()

What can evolutionary biology tell us about male-female differences in preferences concerning family matters? Might mothers be more solicitous toward offspring than fathers, for example? The economics literature has documented gender differences—children benefit more from money put in the hands of mothers rather than fathers, for example—and these differences are thought to be partly due to preferences. Yet for good reason family economics is mostly concerned with how prices and incomes affect behavior against a backdrop of exogenous preferences. Evolutionary biology complements this approach by treating preferences as the outcome of natural selection. We mine the well-developed biological literature to make a prima facie case for evolutionary roots of parental preferences. We consider the most rudimentary of traits—sex differences in gamete size and internal fertilization—and explain how they have been thought to generate male-female differences in altruism toward children and other preferences related to family behavior. The evolutionary approach to the family illuminates connections between issues typically thought distinct in family economics, such as parental care and marriage markets. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11150-013-9201-1
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Economics of the Household.

Volume (Year): 11 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 421-446

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:11:y:2013:i:3:p:421-446
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=109451

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Differential Fecundity, Markets, and Gender Roles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 334-354, April.
  2. Michele Tertilt & Matthias Doepke, 2010. "Does Female Empowerment Promote Economic Development?," 2010 Meeting Papers 230, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Nick Netzer, 2008. "Evolution of Time Preferences and Attitudes Towards Risk," TWI Research Paper Series 29, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universit�t Konstanz.
  4. Peter Arcidiacono & Andrew Beauchamp & Marjorie McElroy, 2012. "Terms of Endearment: An Equilibrium Model Of Sex and Matching," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 813, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 02 Jul 2013.
  5. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2009. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," NBER Working Papers 15093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ingela Alger & Jörgen Weibull, 2009. "Kinship, Incentives and Evolution," Working Papers hal-00435431, HAL.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Arthur J. Robson, 2001. "Why Would Nature Give Individuals Utility Functions?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 900-929, August.
  9. Matthias Doepke & Michele Tertilt, 2008. "Women's Liberation: What's in It for Men?," Discussion Papers 07-037, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  10. Eddie Dekel & Jeffrey C. Ely & Okan Yilankaya, 2007. "Evolution of Preferences -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 685-704.
  11. Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "Primogeniture, Monogamy and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society," Meeting papers 9410001, EconWPA, revised 10 Oct 1994.
  12. David Bishai & Shoshana Grossbard, 2010. "Far above rubies: Bride price and extramarital sexual relations in Uganda," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 1177-1187, September.
  13. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," CEPR Discussion Papers 6144, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Ted Bergstrom, . "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," Papers _023, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  15. Imran Rasul, 2006. "The Economics of Child Custody," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(289), pages 1-25, 02.
  16. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  17. Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2005. "The Dynamic Evolution of Preferences," Discussion Papers 1415, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  18. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2003. "From Individual to Aggregate Labor Supply: A Quantitative Analysis Based on a Heterogeneous Agent Macroeconomy," Macroeconomics 0307003, EconWPA.
  19. Grossbard-Shechtman, Amyra, 1986. "Economic behavior, marriage and fertility : Two lessons from polygyny," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 415-424, December.
  20. Nicolas Vaillant & François-Charles Wolff, 2011. "Positive and negative preferences in human mate selection," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 273-291, June.
  21. Günter Hitsch & Ali Hortaçsu & Dan Ariely, 2010. "What makes you click?—Mate preferences in online dating," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 393-427, December.
  22. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
  23. Ingela Alger, 2009. "Public Goods Games, Altruism, and Evolution," Carleton Economic Papers 09-06, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Feb 2010.
  24. Mukesh Eswaran & Ashok Kotwal, 2004. "A theory of gender differences in parental altruism," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 918-950, November.
  25. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  26. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2009. "On the Potential of Neuroeconomics: A Critical (but Hopeful) Appraisal," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-41, August.
  27. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  28. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, And Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292, February.
  29. Qingyuan Du & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "A Sexually Unbalanced Model of Current Account Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 16000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Ian Smith, 2012. "Reinterpreting the economics of extramarital affairs," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 319-343, September.
  31. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1990. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 529-44, June.
  32. Luis Rayo & Gary S. Becker, 2007. "Evolutionary Efficiency and Happiness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 302-337.
  33. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 1995. "Economics in a Family Way," Labor and Demography 9507002, EconWPA, revised 06 Feb 1996.
  34. Dekel, Eddie & Ely, Jeffrey & Yilankaya, Okan, 2004. "Evolution of Preferences," Microeconomics.ca working papers dekel-04-08-13-01-21-07, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 09 Jun 2006.
  35. Ingela Alger, 2010. "Corrigendum: Public Goods Games, Altruism, and Evolution," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(6), pages 1135-1135, December.
  36. Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2005. "Sex, equality, and growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 807-831, August.
  37. Frank, Robert H, 1987. "If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 593-604, September.
  38. Grafen, Alan, 2000. "A biological approach to economics through fertility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 241-248, March.
  39. Raymond Fisman & Sheena S. Iyengar & Emir Kamenica & Itamar Simonson, 2006. "Gender Differences in Mate Selection: Evidence from a Speed Dating Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 673-697, May.
  40. Robson, Arthur J. & Samuelson, Larry, 2011. "The evolution of decision and experienced utility," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(3), September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:11:y:2013:i:3:p:421-446. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.