A Bioeconomic Approach to Marriage and the Sexual Division of Labor

Human Nature 20 (2):151-183 (2009)

Abstract
Children may be viewed as public goods whereby both parents receive equal genetic benefits yet one parent often invests more heavily than the other. We introduce a microeconomic framework for understanding household investment decisions to address questions concerning conflicts of interest over types and amount of work effort among married men and women. Although gains and costs of marriage may not be spread equally among marriage partners, marriage is still a favorable, efficient outcome under a wide range of conditions. This bioeconomic framework subsumes both cooperative and conflictive views on the sexual division of labor. We test hypotheses concerning marriage markets, assortative mating, and men’s labor motivations among Tsimane forager-horticulturalists of Bolivia and find that: (1) men and women both value work effort in marital partners, (2) marital labor contributions are complementary, (3) work effort is correlated between spouses, (4) total production is correlated with total reproduction, and (5) better hunters have higher fitness gains within marital unions
Keywords Sexual division of labor  Family  Marriage  Bargaining  Behavioral ecology  Tsimane
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DOI 10.1007/s12110-009-9062-8
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Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):201-202.
Ethnographic Atlas.George Peter Murdock - 1967 - University of Pittsburgh Press.

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