Productivity, Rank and Returns in Polygamy
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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|Date of revision:||Jul 2012|
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