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Productivity, Rank and Returns in Polygamy

  • Julia Anna Matz

    ()

    (Institute for International Integration Studies and Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin)

This study sheds light on the development of family structures in a polygamous context and offers an explanation for the association between outcomes of children and the status of their mothers among wives, based on observable maternal characteristics. Using a game theoretical approach I show that highly productive wives are more strongly demanded in the marriage market than less productive ones so that a selection into being the first wife with respect to productivity takes place. Furthermore, productivity is positively associated with a woman's bargained share of family income to be spent on consumption and investment, due to greater contributions to family income and larger outside options. The findings are empirically supported by a positive relationship between indicators of female productivity, women's levels of seniority among wives, and their children's educational outcomes in rural Ethiopia.

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Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp390.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision: Jul 2012
Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp390
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  1. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, August.
  2. Harounan Kazianga & Stefan Klonner, 2009. "The Intra-household Economics of Polygyny: Fertility and Child Mortality in Rural Mali," Economics Working Paper Series 0902, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
  3. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, August.
  4. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1995. "The Economics of Polygyny in Sub-Saharan Africa: Female Productivity and the Demand for Wives in Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 938-71, October.
  5. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  6. Sarah Carmichael, 2011. "Marriage and Power: Age at first marriage and spousal age gap in Lesser Developed Countries," Working Papers 0015, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  7. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
  8. Avi Simhon & Eric D. Gould & Omer Moav, 2005. "The Mystery of Monogamy," 2005 Meeting Papers 370, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Alistair Munro & Bereket Kebede & Marcela Tarazona-Gomez & Arjan Verschoor, 2010. "The lion’s share. An experimental analysis of polygamy in Northern Nigeria," GRIPS Discussion Papers 10-27, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
  10. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "The Impact of Group-Based Credit Programs on Poor Households in Bangladesh: Does the Gender of Participants Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 958-996, October.
  11. La Ferrara, Eliana, 2003. "Kin Groups and Reciprocity: A Model of Credit Transactions in Ghana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3705, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285, August.
  15. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes R, 2005. "Marriage, Bequest, and Assortative Matching in Rural Ethiopia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 347-80, January.
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