The Polygyny-Fertility Hypothesis : A Re-evaluation
Data from the Mormon Historical Demography Project was employed in this study to re-evaluate previous research which has produced what has generally been recognized as the polygyny-fertility hypothesis. This traditional hypothesis has suggested that the fertility of polygynous wives is lower than that of monogamous wives. The data used in this study included 2,534 polygamists involving 7,378 marriages. The analysis took into consideration the changing conditions under which this form of marriage was practised. It compared polygynous wives specified by wife-order with monogamous wives. The study demonstrated that past research which compared aggregate fertility of polygynous wives with monogamous wives didn't satisfactorily test the hypothesis. It also revealed that other factors needed to be taken into consideration. Among the conclusions reached, the study suggested that fertility varied by wife-order in multiple-wife families. The data indicated there was an inverse relationship between wife-order and completed fertility.