2022 (19), №2

The Golden Ratio in Marriage Markets: the Allocation of Time in the Patriarchal and Modern Family

For citation: 

Malakhov, S. V. (2022). The Golden Ratio in Marriage Markets: the Allocation of Time in the Patriarchal and Modern Family. AlterEconomics, 19(2), 239-261.  https://doi.org/10.31063/AlterEconomics/2022.19-2.3


The paper seeks to uncover the roots of different time allocation patterns in the preindustrial and modern family. It analyzes the model of the preindustrial family where the hunter and the housewife share the quarry and leisure. The husband allocates his time between hunting, men’s house work, and leisure while the wife allocates her time between women’s house work, a part of men’s house work, and leisure. When the partners’ unit attractiveness is unequal, the more attractive spouse gets extra leisure time. When the unit attractiveness of the husband and wife is equal, they spend all leisure time together. As a result, their allocation of time is determined by the golden ratio, which equalizes their total attractiveness or gravitation fields. The hunter and the housewife spend some time on house work together, but their total leisure time slightly exceeds six hours and a half. This result corresponds to the field studies of natural sleep in African and Latin American pre-industrial societies and to the historical analysis of the sleeping habits before the industrial revolution. Adherence to the golden ratio principle produces a model of ideal family. This model discovers the difference in the allocation of time in the patriarchal and modern family. The correspondence between the mathematical model and the existing research evidence leads us to the assumption that in preindustrial societies the family was seen as a means of survival. Today the family and family-based division of labor have lost their original economic meaning. The model of ideal family shows that additional leisure time results from the social limits on work time; this additional leisure exceeds the need in survival and meets increasing wants.

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Sergey V. MALAKHOV,  Doctor of Economics,  Pierre Mendès-France University, Grénoble-Alpes, France, e-mail: serguei.malakhov@orange.fr,  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4805-0635

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