It was accepted in ancient Greece, until the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church.

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Despite the expenses of polygynous marriages, men benefit from marrying multiple wives through the economic and social insurance that kinship ties produce.

With a large network of in-laws, these men have the ties they need to compensate for other economic shortages.

) is the most common and accepted form of polygamy, entailing the marriage of a man with several women.

Most countries that permit polygamy are Muslim-majority countries in which polygyny is the only form permitted.

An elderly cultivator, with several wives and likely several young male children, benefits from having a much larger workforce within his household.

By the combined efforts of his young sons and young wives, he may gradually expand his cultivation and become more prosperous.

A man with a single wife has less help in cultivation and is likely to have little or no help for felling trees.

According to Boserup's historical data, women living in such a structure also welcome one or more co-wives to share with them the burden of daily labor.

The status of a mistress is not that of a wife, and any children born of such relationships were and some still are considered illegitimate and subject to legal disadvantage.