Standard Cross-Cultural Sample: The Sexual Division of Labor Page, Causes and Entailments

Douglas R. White, University of California, Irvine
Polygyny (Standard_Cross-Cultural Sample)

Sexual Division of Labor in African Agriculture: A Network Autocorrelation Analysis. Douglas R. White; Michael L. Burton; Malcolm M. Dow American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 83, No. 4. (Dec., 1981), pp. 824-849.

Abstract. A model of causes and consequences of sexual division of labor in agriculture is tested using a sample of African societies. Crop type and the presence or absence of slavery are shown to be effective predictors of the degree of female contribution to agricultural subsistence, and the degree of polygyny is shown to be affected by female agricultural contribution and the form of residence. Autocorrelation effects are found and are shown to be a consequence of Bantu societies having higher female participation in agriculture than would otherwise be expected. This effect is an example of one of the kinds of phenomena that anthropologists have referred to as Galton's problem

Abstract. Female agricultural contributions decline with agricultural intensification. We formulate and test a theory of the processes of agricultural intensification that explains a high proportion of the variance in female contributions to agriculture. Five variables show replicable effects across two or more regions of the world. These are number of dry months, importance of domesticated animals to subsistence, use of the plow, crop type, and population density. Of these, the first two are the most powerful predictors of female agricultural contributions, while population density has only very weak effects

Abstract. Assumptions about economies of effort in performance of tasks in the same production sequence and assumptions about constraints on women's geographic mobility due to nursing and child care are used to derive hypotheses about the allocation of tasks in the sexual division of labor in preindustrial societies. The hypotheses constitute a locational model of the division of labor by sex that makes predictions in the form of entailments: for one sex, doing task X entails doing task Y. The predictions of the locational model are tested using a new procedure for statistical entailment analysis applied to a body of data on fifty tasks in the 185 societies of the standard cross-cultural sample. Assumptions about constraints of nursing and the effect of supplementary feeding of infants on women's participation in task activities are also tested and found to be supported from the evidence on this sample.

Digraph: Sexual Division of Labor

The Organization of Work in Social Insect Colonies Deborah Gordon (Harvester Ant Colony Division of Labor)