On the basis of anthropologists' area-specific research of primogeniture, the author proposes a Becker-Barro type of dynastic model in which primogeniture may emerge as family heads' optimal policy to minimize their respective lineal extinction probability. The author shows that parents' bequest division will be affected by the intrinsic mobility structure of the society, contrary to previous causality conjecture. Although an unequal division of bequests widens the within-generation inequality, it may increase the intergenerational upward mobility for the well-endowed child, which in turn improves the originally rigid upward mobility of the poor and middle-income groups and, as a result, reduces the steady-state income inequality. Copyright 1991 by University of Chicago Press.
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