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Primogeniture, Monogamy and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society

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  • Ted Bergstrom

Abstract

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. The paper models a simple stratified society and defines the reproductive values of male and female nobility relative to that of commoners. It goes on to explore implications of the hypothesis that preferences have evolved to favor maximization of reproductive value. This hypothesis is tested against fragmentary data from ancient civilizations and quite detailed information about the British aristocracy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This work has been heavily influenced by theoretical discussions and empirical evidence found in the writings of an anthropologist, Laura Betzig, and an historian Lawrence Stone.

Suggested Citation

  • Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "Primogeniture, Monogamy and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society," Meeting papers 9410001, EconWPA, revised 10 Oct 1994.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpme:9410001
    Note: 33 pages
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1995. "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 58-81, March.
    2. Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-481, 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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    Cited by:

    1. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2003. "Why Dowries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1385-1398, September.
    2. Eric D. Gould & Omer Moav & Avi Simhon, 2008. "The Mystery of Monogamy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 333-357, March.
    3. Bergstrom, T., 1995. "Evolution of Bihavior in Family Games," Papers 95-08, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
    4. Ingela Alger & Donald Cox, 2013. "The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 421-446, September.
    5. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 1996. "Economics in a Family Way," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1903-1934, December.
    6. Graziella Bertocchi, 2006. "The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 43-70, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Ian Smith, 2003. "The Law and Economics of Marriage Contracts," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 201-226, April.
    9. Deby Cassill, 2003. "Skew Selection: Nature Favors a Trickle-Down Distribution of Resources in Ants," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 83-96, May.
    10. Maury Granger & Gregory Price, 2009. "Does religion constrain the risky sex behaviour associated with HIV/AIDS?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(6), pages 791-802.
    11. Aloysius Siow & Xiaodong Zhu, 2002. "Differential Fecundity and Gender-Biased Parental Investments in Health," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 999-1024, October.

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