Bargaining, altruism, and demographic phenomena.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Game theory has a distinct contribution to make to the understanding of demographic phenomena. Within the family, demographic behavior can be viewed as the outcome of bargaining and altruism. Four examples of processes that can be illuminated by this line of reasoning are cited. Parents behave stratigically when deciding on how many children to have, how to make bequests to them conditional on behavior, and how to invest in them so as to manipulate their future conduct. A woman's incentive to dissolve a marriage is causally related to the bargaining outcome of the dissolution process; negotiation from a position of strength requires investment in non-marriage-specific activities such as a job and avoidance of marriage-specific activities such as childbearing. Family nucleation can be viewed as precipitated by a change in the bargaining strength of a highly skilled family member when his market wage increases. The act of migration and the magnitude and duration of remittances are elements in a contractual arrangement between a migrant and his family.-Author

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-692
Number of pages14
JournalPopulation and Development Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


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