4 huhti 2018

WIDER Seminar Series – Women’s inheritance rights reform and the preference for sons in India

Date and time:
4.4.2018 15:00 – 16:00
UNU-WIDER, Katajanokanlaituri 6 B, Helsinki
Event language:
free event
United Nations University World Institute for Development (UNU-WIDER)


UNU-WIDER invites all local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others working on or interested in development topics to attend its weekly seminar in Helsinki.

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics.

On 4 April Sanchari Roy, Senior Lecturer at King’s College London, will present her work on barriers to female empowerment in Tanzania. See the full schedule for the first part of the spring 2018 session here.

Abstract – Women’s inheritance rights reform and the preference for sons in India

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 first-born 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.

Registration: no registration needed

Key words: inheritance rights reform, female foeticide, India, development economics