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Men’s Desire for Additional Wives and Children


Speizer, Ilene S. (1995). Men's Desire for Additional Wives and Children. Social Biology, 42(3-4), 199-213.


In sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of fertility and family planning studies are of women. By ignoring men, these studies overlook the primary fertility and family decision makers. This study uses male data from Cameroon to examine how currently monogamous men make fertility and nupital decisions. Three analyses are discussed. First, an analysis of monogamous men's desire for additional wives is presented. Second, an analysis of monogamous men's desire for additional children is presented. Finally, the two desires are examined simultaneously to disentangle the relationship between these two family desires. Three possible interrelationships between monogamous men's two family desires (desire for wives and desire for children) are examined and discussed. The results indicate that men's desire for more children drives their desire for additional wives and not the contrary. The implications of this finding for high fertility in areas where polygyny is common are discussed.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Social Biology


Speizer, Ilene S.