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Economics in a Family Way

  • Theodore C. Bergstrom

This paper argues that the economics of the family can be much enriched by incorporating recent developments in evolutionary biology, animal behavior studies, cultural evolution, anthropology, and game theory. Evolutionary foundations of sympathy between relatives are explored. Applications of the theory of cultural evolution to the demographic transition and to wealth transfers between generations are investigated. The economics of marital institutions such as polygyny, polyandry, and matriarchy are discussed, as well as recent work by economists on non-monogamous mating arrangements in our own society. Applications of recent developments in non-cooperative bargaining theory and matching theory to the theory of marriage are presented.

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Paper provided by ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution in its series ELSE working papers with number 018.

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Handle: RePEc:els:esrcls:018
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://else.econ.ucl.ac.uk/
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  1. Ted Bergstrom, 1995. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Papers _027, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  2. Ronald Lee, 1980. "Age Structure, Intergenerational Transfers and Economic Growth : an Overview," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 31(6), pages 1129-1156.
  3. Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "Primogeniture, Monogamy and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society," Meeting papers 9410001, EconWPA, revised 10 Oct 1994.
  4. Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "On the Economics of Polygyny," Papers _026, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  5. Donald Cox & Oded Stark, 1996. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Demonstration Effect," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 329., Boston College Department of Economics.
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