Kin Effects or Kin Affected? Differential Mortality of Reproductive Females by Family Network Composition

Kai Willfuehr , University of Oldenburg
Lisa Dillon, Université de Montréal

Motivated by the cooperative breeding hypothesis, we investigate the effect of having kin on the mortality of reproductive women based on family reconstitutions for the St. Lawrence Valley (1670-1799) and for the Krummhörn region (1720-1874). The environmental contexts differed substantially between these populations. We rely on a combination of Cox clustered hazard models and stratified at the family level. We separate behavior-related and structural effects by including information on kin's place of residence. We find major differences with regard to kin effects which we interpret as a reflection of the population-specific socio-economic context. However, in both populations mothers-in-law were associated with reduced mortality. This may be attributed to two mechanisms; consanguinity in the Krummhörn and exchange marriage in Canada. In sum, our findings do not support the assumption that a woman’s natal kin represented a source of unconditional support and that her in-law kin represented a source of unconditional competition.

See paper

 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions