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Primogeniture, Monogamy, and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society

  • Ted Bergstrom

    (University of Michigan)

This paper explores the workings of stratified societies in which there is primogeniture and where the nobility practice monogamous marriage with a double standard of sexual fidelity. We model a simple stratified society and define the reproductive values of the male and female nobility relative to that of commoners. We then explore implications of the hypothesis that preferences have evolved to favor maximization of reproductive value. The hypothesis is tested against fragmentary data from ancient civilizations and quite detailed information about the British aristocracy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ucsb.edu/~tedb/Evolution/primogeniture.ps
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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Department of Economics in its series Papers with number _025.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:michec:_025
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  1. Ted Bergstrom, . "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," Papers _023, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  2. Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-81, June.
  3. Lloyd Bonfield, 1979. "Marriage Settlements and the “Rise of Great Estates”: The Demographic Aspect," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 32(4), pages 483-493, November.
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