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From polygyny to serial monogamy: a unified theory of marriage institutions

  • DE LA CROIX, David

    ()

    (Université catholique de Louvain, CORE and IRES, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve)

  • MARIANI, Fabio

    ()

    (Université catholique de Louvain, IRES, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve)

Consider an economy populated by males and females, both rich and poor. The society has to choose one of the following marriage institutions: polygyny, strict monogamy, and serial monogamy (divorce and remarriage). After having identified the conditions under which each of these equilibria exists, we show that a rise in the share of rich males can explain a change of regime from polygyny to monogamy. The introduction of serial monogamy follows from a further rise in either the proportion of rich males, or an increase in the proportion of rich females. Strict monogamy is a prerequisite to serial monogamy, as it promotes the upward social mobility of females more than polygyny. We also show that polygyny is compatible with democracy.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2012018.

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Date of creation: 09 May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2012018
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