Inheritance as an instrument of parental control over mating

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Wealth is often controlled by a society's male members and as such passes to future generations through the male line. Sons have a strong interest in the wealth they receive from their fathers, which enables the latter to employ inheritance rights so as to manipulate the former's mating decisions. On this basis, two hypotheses are tested. First, in societies where male offspring enjoy inheritance rights, men are more influential over marriage arrangements. Second, as more male-controlled wealth is produced in agropastoral than in hunting and gathering societies, male offspring are more likely to benefit from inheritance rights in the former that in the latter societies. Evidence from the Standard Cross-cultural Sample provides support for both hypotheses. These findings explain partially why sexual selection under male parental choice is stronger in agropastoral than in foraging societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-382
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • inheritance
  • inheritance rights
  • male parental choice
  • mate choice
  • parental choice
  • parental control over mating
  • sexual selection
  • sexual selection under parental choice


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