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The economic value of virtue

  • Fabio Mariani

    ()

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor)

We model virtue as an asset on the marriage market : since men value virginity in prospective mates, preserving their virtue increases girls' chances of getting a "good" husband, and therefore allows for upward social mobility. Consistent with some historical and anthropological evidence, we find that the diffusion (and the social value) of virginity, across societies and over time, can be determined, among others, by income inequality, gender differences, social stratification and overall economic development. This is a further example of how cultural and moral values can be affected by economic factors.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00348928.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00348928
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