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

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  • de la Croix, David

    () (Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Mariani, Fabio

    () (Université catholique de Louvain)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • de la Croix, David & Mariani, Fabio, 2012. "From Polygyny to Serial Monogamy: A Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions," IZA Discussion Papers 6599, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6599
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    Cited by:

    1. Hiller, Victor & Recoules, Magali, 2013. "Changes in divorce patterns: Culture and the law," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 77-87.
    2. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    3. Thomas Baudin & David de la Croix & Paula E. Gobbi, 2015. "Fertility and Childlessness in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1852-1882, June.
    4. Hippolyte D'Albis & Angela Greulich & Grégory Ponthière, 2017. "Development, fertility and childbearing age: A unified growth theory," PSE Working Papers halshs-01452846, HAL.
    5. Sandra Brée & David de la Croix, 2016. "Key Forces Behind the Decline of Fertility: Lessons from Childlessness in Rouen before the Industrial Revolution," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    6. Edlund, Lena & Ku, Hyejin, 2011. "The African Slave Trade and the Curious Case of General Polygyny," MPRA Paper 52735, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Dec 2013.
    7. WUNSCH, Guillaume & MOUCHART, Michel & RUSSO, Federica, 2012. "Functions and mechanisms in structural-modelling explanations," CORE Discussion Papers 2012056, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    8. Matthias Doepke & Joel Mokyr & David de la Croix, 2013. "Apprenticeship and Technological Progress in the Malthusian World," 2013 Meeting Papers 76, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 58-73.
    10. Thomas BAUDIN & David de la CROIX & Paula GOBBI, 2015. "Development Policies when Accounting for the Extensive Margin of Fertility," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2015003, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    11. Baudin, Thomas & de la Croix, David & Gobbi, Paula, 2017. "Endogenous Childlessness and Stages of Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 12071, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Shoshana GROSSBARD, 2015. "Sex Ratios, Polygyny, and the Value of Women in Marriage - A Beckerian Approach," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 13-25, March.
    13. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2016. "An evolutionary theory of monogamy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 605-628.
    14. Sadettin Citci, 2014. "The rise of monogamy," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 377-397, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political economy; marriage; polygyny; monogamy; divorce; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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