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From Polygamy to Serial Monogamy: a Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions

  • David de la Croix

    (Univ cath Louvain)

We consider an economy populated by males and females, both rich and poor. The society has to choose one of the following marriage institutions: polygamy, strict monogamy, and serial monogamy (divorce and remarriage). Preferences are aggregated through a voting process. 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 polygamy to monogamy. The introduction of serial monogamy follows from a further rise in either the share of rich males, or from an increase in the proportion of rich females. Strict monogamy is a prerequisite to serial monogamy, as it promotes more than polygamy the upward social mobility of females. These results also show that polygamy is compatible with democracy.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 49.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:49
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