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The economics of early social stratification

Rowthorn, Robert and Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés and Rodríguez-Sickert, Carlos (2008): The economics of early social stratification.

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We develop an endogenous fertility model of social stratification with two hereditary classes: a warrior elite and a peasantry. Our model shows that the extra cost warriors must incur to raise their children and to equip them for war is the key determinant of (1) the relative sizes of both classes and (2) the warriors' economic privileges in terms of income and consumption. Higher costs of warrior children imply greater economic privileges for warriors and a smaller ratio of warriors to peasants. Historical evidence confirms this prediction. Finally, we identify conditions under which the military function of warriors may legitimise their privileges.

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