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From Polygyny to Serial Monogamy: a Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions

  • David DE LA CROIX

    ()

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))

  • Fabio MARIANI

    ()

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), Paris School of Economics and IZA)

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, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2012005.

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Length: 46
Date of creation: 30 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2012005
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  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
  2. Victor Hiller & Magali Recoules, 2010. "Divorce decisions, divorce laws and social norms," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 10046, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  3. Ron J. Lesthaeghe & Lisa Neidert, 2006. "The Second Demographic Transition in the United States: Exception or Textbook Example?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(4), pages 669-698.
  4. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Yoram Weiss, 2006. "Divorce, Remarriage, and Welfare: A General Equilibrium Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 415-426, 04-05.
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  7. Barham, Vicky & Devlin, Rose Anne & Yang, Jie, 2009. "A theory of rational marriage and divorce," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 93-106, January.
  8. Todd Schoellman & Michèle Tertilt, 2006. "Marriage Laws and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 295-298, May.
  9. Anderson, Gary M. & Tollison, Robert D., 1998. "Celestial marriage and earthly rents: Interests and the prohibition of polygamy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 169-181, October.
  10. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2009. "On the Origin of the Family," IZA Discussion Papers 4637, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. David G. Schramm, 2006. "Individual and Social Costs of Divorce in Utah," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 133-151, April.
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  14. Korn, Evelyn, 2000. " On the Formation of Family Structures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(3-4), pages 357-72, December.
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  16. Lena Edlund & Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2006. "Individual versus Parental Consent in Marriage: Implications for Intra-Household Resource Allocation and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 304-307, May.
  17. Oded Galor, 2005. "Unified Growth Theory," Development and Comp Systems 0504001, EconWPA.
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  19. Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2005. "Sex, equality, and growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 807-831, August.
  20. Scott Drewianka, 2008. "Divorce law and family formation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 485-503, April.
  21. Edlund, Lena Cecilia & Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2006. "Individual vs. Parental Consent in Marriage: Implications for Intra-Household Resource Allocation and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 5474, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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