The Fish is the Friend of Matriliny: Reef density predicts matrilineal inheritance across the world and its persistence in Melanesia

Allied Social Science Associations Annual Meeting Vol/Iss. Boston 2015 American Economic Association Published In Pages: 1-11
By BenYishay, Ariel, Grosjean, Pauline, Vecci, Joe


In order to evaluate previous claims of association between reliance on fishing and matrilineal inheritance practices, the researchers test the association between matriliny and reef density within a 10 km radius among the 186 societies of the Standard Cross Cultural Sample (SCCS). A positive correlation between these variables is complemented by a supplementary analysis of 56 villages in the Solomon Islands, intended to control for phylogenetic and demographic impacts on incidence of matriliny. The authors conclude that ecological factors such as reef density can and do have a direct effect on inheritance rules, with potential secondary effects on welfare and economic development.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Standard Cross Cultural Sample (SCCS)Researcher's own, other researcher'sMurdock & White (1969), Global Distribution of Coral Reefs (2010)

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