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Women’s Inheritance Rights and Bargaining Power: Evidence from Kenya

Mariaflavia Harari

Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2019, vol. 68, issue 1, 189 - 238

Abstract: This paper investigates the human capital effects of a legal reform granting Kenyan women equal inheritance rights. I employ a difference-in-differences strategy, exploiting variation in prereform inheritance rights across religious groups. I find that women exposed to the reform are more educated, less likely to undergo genital mutilation, and more likely to receive prenatal care and that they delay marriage and childbearing. They also tend to participate more in family decisions, suggesting improved bargaining power as the main channel. These findings suggest that legal recognition of women’s inheritance rights can be beneficial for women even in the context of poor enforcement.

Date: 2019
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