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On the Origin of the Family

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  • Francesconi, Marco
  • Ghiglino, Christian
  • Perry, Motty

Abstract

We present a game theoretic model to explain why people form life long monogamous families. Three components are essential in our framework, paternal investment, fatherhood uncertainty, and, perhaps the most distinctive feature of all, the overlap of children of different ages. When all three conditions are present, monogamy is the most efficient form of sexual organization in the sense that it yields greater survivorship than serial monogamy, group marriage, and polygyny. Monogamy is also the only configuration that fosters altruistic ties among siblings. Finally, our result sheds light to the understanding of why most religions center around the monogamous fidelity family.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2013. "On the Origin of the Family," Economic Research Papers 270431, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uwarer:270431
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.270431
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Why families?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-02-02 21:39:00

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    Cited by:

    1. David De La Croix & Fabio Mariani, 2015. "From Polygyny to Serial Monogamy: A Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 565-607.
    2. Brishti Guha, 2012. "Gambling on Genes: Ambiguity Aversion Explains Investment in Sisters’ Children," Working Papers 33-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
    3. Brishti Guha, 2012. "Grandparents as Guards: A Game Theoretic Analysis of Inheritance and Post Marital Residence in a World of Uncertain Paternity," Working Papers 37-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
    4. Aviv Keren, 2016. "The Logic of Love," Discussion Paper Series dp695, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    5. Lena Edlund, 2013. "The Role of Paternity Presumption and Custodial Rights for Understanding Marriage Patterns," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(320), pages 650-669, October.
    6. Fujii, Tomoki, 2017. "Dynamic Poverty Decomposition Analysis: An Application to the Philippines," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 69-84.
    7. Dirk Bethmann, 2011. "Marriage Regimes," FEMM Working Papers 110029, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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