lowed by a preference for sons over daughters as inheritors, and finally by birth-order effects with preference for primogeniture within each sex for access to resources and the creation of celibate children to live as priests, nuns, bachelors, and spinsters (Hrdy and Judge, 1993). For the first time in human history, mating and reproduction are no longer universal for women. With survival through childhood and young adulthood still quite problematic, ancillary practices develop in which both sons and daughters would be held in reserve in monasteries and nunneries for inheritance should their older same-sex sibling die before reproduction (Boone, 1986, 1988; Goody, 1976, 1983). Within the scope of these restrictions that limit half-sibling and sibling competition, parents with wealth raise as many children as they can but endow a select number at adulthood.

During most of this historical period there is a strong correlation between wealth, probability of marriage, younger age at marriage, and completed fertility (Voland, 2000). However, restricted inheritance decreases the reproductive benefits of polygyny. The desire to concentrate wealth also limits the reproductive success of noninheriting sons and daughters. This may be another example in which reproductive and parental investment behavior in response to extrasomatic wealth results in outcomes that do not maximize parental fitness. In fact, toward the end of the period, as life expectancy improved and economic structures became saturated, resource holding groups delay marriage into the late 30s and early 40s for men and mid-20s for women (Szreter and Garrett, 2000; Voland, 2000).

Family reconstruction studies document very different reproductive strategies according to class.3 Generally, wealth brings higher probability of marriage at a younger age, to a younger spouse, and more children. However, as environments become more saturated, local resource competition among siblings differentially affects resource-holding families, as opposed to day laborers, and increases the likelihood of dispersal of later-born children (Clarke and Low, 1992; Towner, 1999, 2001; Voland and Dunbar, 1997). With saturation the benefits to resource holders of having an above-average number of children is offset by more and more intense sibling competition for access to inheritance (Voland, 2000). Parents without resources have no need to manipulate their offspring and are more likely to benefit from opportunistic strategies by their children (Voland and Dunbar, 1995). An extreme form of such parental manipulation of offspring marital


The behaviors of nobility are documented by Boone (1986, 1988) for Portugal; Dickemann (1979a, 1979b, 1981) for Europe, the Middle East, China, and India; for gentry and land-holding peasants as well as day laborers by Voland and colleagues for Germany (Voland, 1990, 2000; Voland and Chasiotis, 1998; Voland and Dunbar, 1995, 1997; Voland et al., 1991, 1997; Voland and Engel, 1990), Low (1990, 1991, 1994) for Sweden; Towner (1999, 2001) for the United States; and Hughes (1986) and Scott and Duncan (1999) for England.

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