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Sex Ratios, Polygyny, and the Value of Women in Marriage: A Beckerian Approach

Listed author(s):
  • Grossbard, Shoshana

    ()

    (San Diego State University)

A central component of his theory of marriage Becker's Demand and Supply (D&S) models of marriage are also among the most unique models he pioneered. Here I provide an overview of Becker's analysis of the effects of sex ratios – the ratio of men to women in marriage markets – on individual consumption of married men and women, and indicate some of the ways that this analysis has been expanded and tested. Becker also used D&S analysis to develop his argument that polygyny benefits women and used the positive association between brideprice and polygyny as evidence. Relying on D&S models of marriage and based on the section of Becker's Treatise on the Family dealing with "price" rigidities in marriage it is shown that polygyny may be harmful to women. Furthermore, the positive association between brideprice and polygyny does not necessarily prove that women are better off under polygyny than under monogamy.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8728.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2014
Publication status: published in: Journal of Demographic Economics, 2015, 81(1), 13-25
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8728
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  1. Rao, Vijayendra, 1993. "The Rising Price of Husbands: A Hedonic Analysis of Dowry Increases in Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 666-677, August.
  2. Eugene Choo & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Who Marries Whom and Why," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 175-201, February.
  3. David De La Croix & Fabio Mariani, 2015. "From Polygyny to Serial Monogamy: A Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 565-607.
  4. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
  5. Bishai, David & Grossbard, Shoshana, 2007. "Far Above Rubies: The Association Between Bride Price and Extramarital Sexual Relations in Uganda," IZA Discussion Papers 2982, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511-564.
  7. d’Albis, Hippolyte & de la Croix, David, 2012. "Missing daughters, missing brides?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 358-360.
  8. Du, Qingyuan & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2013. "A theory of the competitive saving motive," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 275-289.
  9. Ran Abramitzky & Adeline Delavande & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 124-157, July.
  10. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana & Lemennicier, Bertrand, 2000. "Marriage contracts and the law-and-economics of marriage: an Austrian perspective," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 665-690, June.
  11. Grossbard, Shoshana, 1976. "An economic analysis of polygamy," MPRA Paper 81135, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Maria Porter, 2016. "How do sex ratios in China influence marriage decisions and intra-household resource allocation?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 337-371, June.
  13. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2002. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation, and Household Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 37-72, February.
  14. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00717385 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Philip H. Brown, 2009. "Dowry and Intrahousehold Bargaining: Evidence from China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
  16. Siwan Anderson, 2007. "The Economics of Dowry and Brideprice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 151-174, Fall.
  17. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana Amyra, 1984. "A Theory of Allocation of Time in Markets for Labour and Marriage," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 863-882, December.
  18. Frances Woolley, 1996. "Getting the better of Becker," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 114-120.
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