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On the Origin of the Family

  • Francesconi, Marco

    (University of Essex)

  • Ghiglino, Christian

    (University of Essex)

  • Perry, Motty

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

We present a game theoretic model to explain why people form life long monogamous families. Three components are essential in our framework, paternal investment, fatherhood uncertainty, and, perhaps the most distinctive feature of all, the overlap of children of different ages. When all three conditions are present, monogamy is the most efficient form of sexual organization in the sense that it yields greater survivorship than serial monogamy, group marriage, and polygyny. Monogamy is also the only conguration that fosters altruistic ties among siblings. Finally, our result sheds light to the understanding of why most religions center around the monogamous delity family. JEL classification: C72 ; D01 ; D10 ; J12 ; Z13

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 1028.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1028
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