The Economics of Polygyny in Sub-Saharan Africa: Female Productivity and the Demand for Wives in Cote d'Ivoire
This paper makes the first attempt to link African polygny directly to the productivity of women in agriculture using micro data. The author develops a structural model of the demand for wives that disentangles wealth and substitution effects. Using a large household survey from the Ivory Coast, the author finds that marked geographic diversity in cropping patterns leads to regional variation in female labor productivity. The author also finds that, conditional on wealth, men do have more wives when women are more productive, that is, cheaper. This substitution effect may explain why polygyny declined in rural areas of the Ivory Coast during agricultural development. Copyright 1995 by University of Chicago Press.
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