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African Polygamy: Past and Present

  • James Fenske

Motivated by a simple model, I use DHS data to test nine hypotheses about the prevalence and decline of African polygamy.� First, greater female involvement in agriculture does not increase polygamy.� Second, past inequality better predicts polygamy today than does current inequality.� Third, the slave trade only predicts polygamy across broad regions.� Fourth, modern female education does not reduce polygamy.� Colonial schooling does.� Fifth, economic growth has eroded polygamy.� Sixth and seventh, rainfall shocks and war increase polygamy, though their effects are small.� Eighth, polygamy varies smoothly over borders, national bans notwithstanding.� Finally, falling child mortaility has reduced polygamy.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2012-20.

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Date of creation: 27 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2012-20
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