Status and reproduction in humans: New evidence for the validity of evolutionary explanations on basis of a university sample

Author(s)
Martin Fieder, Susanne Huber, Fred Bookstein, Katrin Schäfer, Georg Winckler, Bernard Wallner
Abstract

A strong positive relationship between reproductive success (offspring

count) and status (position in the institutional hierarchy) is demonstrated in a

contemporary sample of male university employees (n ¿ 2693). Male academics

in leading positions have more children than do other male employees. In

female university employees (n ¿ 2073), a negative relationship between status

and reproductive success was found, but only if childless women were included

in the analysis. Although a positive relationship between male status and

offspring count has been predicted by evolutionary theory and was found in

animal species and traditional human societies, in modern societies most of

the studies found no or even a negative relationship between status and

reproductive success in males. We suggest that status may be a more important

dimension for particular subsamples of modern society than for samples

representing entire societies, so that associations might actually differ among

subsamples. We suggest that analyses on a small and rather uniform level

using modern large-scale hierarchical organizations (such as universities) are

candidates for the investigation of appropriate society subsets. Our results

may stress the importance of evolutionary predictions and may be of relevance

for theoretical and empirical considerations at the levels of economics and

administration.

Organisation(s)
Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Economics
External organisation(s)
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Journal
Ethology
Volume
111
Pages
940-950
No. of pages
11
ISSN
0179-1613
Publication date
2005
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106054 Zoology, 106018 Human biology
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/status-and-reproduction-in-humans-new-evidence-for-the-validity-of-evolutionary-explanations-on-basis-of-a-university-sample(cc4be78a-d74e-49d8-8e30-77cf6f160e9b).html