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Paternal Investment

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While birth rates fall everywhere else, sub-Saharan Africa remains an outlier of high fertility (2009). Throughout most of the world, the demographic transition has played out as predicted. Fertility rates have fallen to replacement level and even lower, first in Europe and North America and more recently in East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East... Read More
Many anthropologists have noted a correlation between the incidence of polygyny and the predominance of women in agriculture. The more women are responsible for producing food, the likelier men will have second or third wives. This correlation is especially evident in sub-Saharan Africa, where food is produced mostly by mothers hoeing garden plots and where... Read More
In sub-Saharan societies, female-dominated agriculture is associated with low paternal investment and high polygyny rates. Why? The short answer is that year-round tropical agriculture enables women to meet their food needs and those of their children without a male provider. Paternal investment thus tends to fall to zero and men are free to maximize their... Read More
The latest issue of Evolution and Human Behavior has an article on paternal investment and IQ. Using a longitudinal dataset of children born in Britain in 1958, Nettle (2008) found a significant positive correlation between a child’s IQ at age 11 and the father’s degree of family involvement. The less a father cared for his... Read More
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