EMBODIED CAPITAL AND HERITABLE WEALTH IN COMPLEX CULTURES: A CLASS-BASED ANALYSIS OF PARENTAL INVESTMENT IN URBAN SOUTH INDIA

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Abstract

In the recent literature in human behavioral ecology, two types of explanations have emerged as important for understanding fertility and parental investment in modern market economies: embodied capital and heritable wealth. Using this perspective, I compare the education, income, and marriage outcomes of daughters and sons among three urban south Indian social class groups that differ in terms of their education, resources, and the types of jobs they typically perform. The three class groups are found to have predictably different parental investment strategies based on their position in competitive labor markets and the investment currencies they rely on most heavily. Furthermore, I find that the currencies of both embodied capital and heritable wealth have important but separate impacts on parental investment behavior. Finally, I find that these different investment currencies may entail different investment structures, which in turn may differ by social class: in some classes, education attracts education in the marriage market and marriage expenditures help ensure a wealthy spouse, but in other classes, these currencies are substitutable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocioeconomic Aspects of Human Behavioral Ecology
Pages307-333
Number of pages27
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004

Publication series

NameResearch in Economic Anthropology
Volume23
ISSN (Print)0190-1281

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this

Shenk, M. K. (2004). EMBODIED CAPITAL AND HERITABLE WEALTH IN COMPLEX CULTURES: A CLASS-BASED ANALYSIS OF PARENTAL INVESTMENT IN URBAN SOUTH INDIA. In Socioeconomic Aspects of Human Behavioral Ecology (pp. 307-333). (Research in Economic Anthropology; Vol. 23). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0190-1281(04)23013-X