Turkey practices monogamy even though they are muslims.

Far from being laws to protect women, anti polygamy statutes may really do more to protect men

Matt Ridley - The Red Queen

Matt argues that monogamy comes from democracy. As athens become democracy, the first thing they vote for is.

Are there any evidence suggesting this?

Did athen practice polygamy before democracy? Are there any correlation between democracy and monogamy?

  • 1
    Is there a good citation that this was the first thing Athens voted on?
    – user4012
    Jul 9, 2015 at 19:22
  • The Republican party in America was founded on ending the twin evils of slavery and polygamy
    – user9790
    Jan 14, 2017 at 13:49
  • Can anyone verify that the Matt quotes are true?
    – user4951
    Dec 10, 2018 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


Correlation does not imply causation.

Most modern states have monogamy.

Even more "most" modern democratic states have monogamy as a result of direct influence of Christianity (Christian Europe or its former colonies).

So, there's a definite correlation, but due to having a clear historical explanation, it offers no need to seek causality.

Having said that, the causality may very well be there as well, but it would be extremely hard to prove due to dearth of data points and ability to construct independent variables. One can of course spin theories.

  • A popular belief (seemingly expressed even in the question) is the theory that, in non-monogamy with equal demographic sex distribution, the non-paired males, if given vote, would of course vote to prohibit nonmonogamy, as it would raise their chances of obtaining female mate.

  • However, this gets trickier if you go for modern democracy where franchise is (unlike the case with Athens or pre-1900 USA) extended to women as well - since women generally are considered to have a preference for hypergamy which may correlate strongly with nonmonogamy. This is politically sensitive enough that not a lot of decent research is done on the topic.

  • 2
    since women generally are considered to have a preference for hypergamy which may correlate strongly with nonmonogamy So basically, you're saying most girls are just willing to go out with many guys at the same time? Source please?
    – Bregalad
    Jul 9, 2015 at 20:54
  • 3
    @Bregalad - no, that's not at all what hypergamy means. Google is your friend.
    – user4012
    Jul 9, 2015 at 20:58
  • 1
    I still fail to see how this correlate to nomonogamy. Maybe (probably) they just want a rich high social class guy to take care of them, but don't want him to take care of other girls as well.
    – Bregalad
    Jul 9, 2015 at 21:43
  • 2
    @Bregalad - there's research that shows that many women prefer to share a higher-status man with other women, than exclusively having a lower-status one.
    – user4012
    Jul 9, 2015 at 21:48
  • 5
    Where's the research?
    – Joze
    Jul 10, 2015 at 9:02

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