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Women's inheritance rights reform and the preference for sons in India

Bhalotra, Sonia and Brulé, Rachel and Roy, Sanchari (2018) 'Women's inheritance rights reform and the preference for sons in India.' Journal of Development Economics. ISSN 0304-3878

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Abstract

We investigate whether legislation of equal inheritance rights for women modifies the historic preference for sons in India, and find that it exacerbates it. Children born after the reform in families with a firstborn daughter are 3.8–4.3 percentage points less likely to be girls, indicating that the reform encouraged female foeticide. We also find that the reform increased excess female infant mortality and son-biased fertility stopping. This suggests that the inheritance reform raised the costs of having daughters, consistent with which we document an increase in stated son preference in fertility post reform. We conclude that this is a case where legal reform was frustrated by persistence of cultural norms. We provide some suggestive evidence of slowly changing patrilocality norms.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Inheritance rights, Ultrasound, Female foeticide, Sex-selection, Son preference, Gender, India
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Social and Economic Research
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2018 12:08
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2018 12:08
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22951

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