Patrilineal Inheritance

Paternity and Inheritance of Wealth

cited 59 times (per Google Scholar accessed on 11/29/2022)

One of the oldest conjectures in anthropology is that men transfer wealth to their sister’s son when the biological paternity of their ‘own’ children is in doubt. Because maternity is certain, a man is necessarily related to his sister’s son and his brother. It is argued in this paper that relatedness to make heirs can be assured by passing wealth to sister’s sons or down a line of brothers matrilineally or patrilineally.

It is also argued that when several transfers of wealth are considered, a man’s likelihood of being cuckolded need not be unrealistically high for his successive matrilineal heirs to be more related to him than his successive patrilineal heirs.