I have a limited desire to pursue polyamory, but I have a strong inclination that when properly managed, a stable polycule would be far more economically efficient. 

Has any serious literature (books, studies, ect) been published on this question? Any thoughts?*

Off the top of my head:

Advantages of Monogamy: 

  • Less of risk of STIs
  • Generally More Stable (data is lacking, most likely due to the stigma surrounding polyamorous relationships naturally creating response bias,  but it seems intuitively correct that it is more difficult to maintain the relationship). 
  • Sanctioned by society at large (especially relevant for public-facing careers and familial inheritance)
  • Less Time Intensive/Easier to Arrange

Advantages of Polyamory: 

  • Allows you to easily influence more people (ie: gain social capital)* 
  • More people = more efficiency in general (Buying in bulk, sharing living space, etc).
  • More opportunities for intercourse

Edits to steer the conversation in a more productive direction + Footnotes:

I know this is far less common in the wild, but I also want to discuss a form of polyamory which is a strict, potentially contractual agreement similar to marriage, in which each party agrees to abstain from extra-polycule relations. 

*On point one for the advantages of polyamory, the idea is that it is easier to influence the decisions of romantic partners than friends (on average) is a pretty huge deal in my opinion. It could just be because I am fairly introverted (ie socially challenged), but it seems much easier to change your family's behavior than friends. This should have serious implications for EA folk, as in theory, you can increase effective donations by a great margin by engaging in a polyamorous relationship, assuming there are no other disadvantages to polyamory.

*Okay, I get that relationships are complex and it's difficult to study them due to a large number of confounding variables, but has there really been no systematic analysis (ie a book) on the economics of polyamory? 

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I think some poly scenarios save money (although most are accessible without poly), but poly also gives you new and exciting ways to lose it (these can be replicated without poly too, but it's harder).

If you can't afford your home without everyone's income, then your housing stability is dependent on every relationship in the house. Hope everyone is chore compatible. And is in agreement on if the house allows kid. And everyone's work is near each other. And...

I've seen poly housing (and found family shared housing) go well and save money, but mostly when at least one person had a lot of financial slack (to paper over housemate losses) and no one was so badly off they can't afford to leave. If someone needs the house sharing to work, issues will fester until they become toxic.



I would guess this is somewhat similar to having a network of friends: a polycule is even bound to be smaller. And I can totally imagine being emotionally, romantically, sexually attached to one set of partners and opinion-sharing attached to a slightly different set.

Gordon Seidoh Worley


My guess is that there's no home economic alpha to be had in polyamory, on average. This isn't a very strong opinion, but I expect most efficiencies that can be obtained by a polycule (which are similar to those obtained by a family of the same size with kids), will be offset by increased volatility due to complex relationship dynamics (I'm not saying poly people break up more, but that this is simple math of having more people and holding the base rate of breakups constant).

I think there are ways to make home economics more efficient for any particular household, but they are largely orthogonal to relationship style of the people in the house.



I have identified as polyamorous for over a decade. I started and ran a local community for a number of years. I’m not an authority, but I have seen patterns.

If you want to be polyamorous, then do so. I can’t imagine monogamy at this point. Being polyamorous has brought me a lot of happiness and satisfaction.

It can also be stressful, especially when starting out. You are right that it is more work than monogamy. Don’t choose polyamory because of a cost-benefit analysis. Your relationships won’t look like what you expect, your analysis is waisted time and effort.

Choose polyamory if it is right for you. I can make book suggestions, but they’d likely be out of date at this point. Honestly though, you’d likely find them with some Google searches.

Really though? Find your local poly community. Go to a meetup. Talk to people. Listen to their stories. See if they resonate with you.