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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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6599
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    1. The evolution of marriage over history
      by nawmsayn in ZeeConomics on 2014-12-21 17:12:08

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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.),Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1789-1891, Elsevier.
    2. Alger, Ingela, 2020. "Monogamy: exception or rule?," TSE Working Papers 20-1093, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    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. Sandra Brée & David de la Croix, 2019. "Key forces behind the decline of fertility: lessons from childlessness in Rouen before the industrial revolution," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 13(1), pages 25-54, January.
    5. d'Albis, Hippolyte & Greulich, Angela & Ponthiere, Gregory, 2018. "Development, fertility and childbearing age: A Unified Growth Theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 461-494.
    6. Thomas Baudin & David de la Croix & Paula Gobbi, 2020. "Endogenous Childlessness and Stages of Development," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 83-133.
    7. d'Albis, Hippolyte & Greulich, Angela & Ponthiere, Gregory, 2018. "Development, fertility and childbearing age: A Unified Growth Theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 461-494.
    8. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2016. "An evolutionary theory of monogamy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 605-628.
    9. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke & Joel Mokyr, 2018. "Clans, Guilds, and Markets: Apprenticeship Institutions and Growth in the Preindustrial Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(1), pages 1-70.
    10. 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.
    11. Vellore Arthi & James Fenske, 2018. "Polygamy and child mortality: Historical and modern evidence from Nigeria’s Igbo," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 97-141, March.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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).
    15. André, Pierre & Dupraz, Yannick, 2019. "Education and Polygamy : Evidence from Cameroon," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1219, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    16. Kudo, Yuya, 2017. "Why Is the Practice of Levirate Marriage Disappearing in Africa? HIV/AIDS as an Agent of Institutional Change," IDE Discussion Papers 627, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    17. d'Albis, Hippolyte & Greulich, Angela & Ponthiere, Gregory, 2018. "Development, fertility and childbearing age: A Unified Growth Theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 461-494.
    18. 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.
    19. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 58-73.
    20. Tim Krieger & Laura Renner, 2020. "Polygyny, Inequality, and Social Unrest," CESifo Working Paper Series 8230, CESifo.
    21. 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.
    22. 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).

    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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