Archive for November 9th, 2013|Daily archive page

African polygamy: Past and present | vox

It’s easy to ignore history but it’s a mistake to do so. Past economic and political conditions affect present circumstances, unto the fourth generation, at least, or so it seems from this bracing study on polygamy.


These results pose challenges to existing theories of polygamy. The distribution of polygamy in Africa does not fit an explanation rooted in the gender division of labour. I find no evidence that educating women in the present reduces polygamy. Further, I find that history matters. Pre-colonial inequality, the slave trade, and colonial education all predict polygamy rates in the present. I find limited evidence that African marriage markets have responded to economic growth and fluctuations. The largest elasticities that I find are in response to changes in child health. This is consistent with theories that see polygamy as a strategy for men to increase fertility, making wives and surviving births per wife substitutes.

via African polygamy: Past and present | vox.

The Staple Theory & Aspects of Pioneer Economies

The Staple Theory at 50: Who’s your grand daddy? Watkins, Innis and W.A. Mackintosh |

It’s a pretty interesting read and in conjunction with Stross’ recent _Neptune’s Brood_ (which owes a fair amount to Krugman and is really an experiment on the role of time in economic valuation and which also ties into NZ economists’ efforts toward a dual monetary system), clarifies much of the economic topography both of Canada and Australia, where natural resources have persisted in shaping the nations.