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Duration of exposure to inheritance law in India: Examining the heterogeneous effects on empowerment

Shreya Biswas, Upasak Das and Prasenjit Sarkhel

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Abstract: Higher duration of programs that involve legal protection may entail gradual positive changes in social norms that can be leveraged by potential beneficiaries in their favor. This paper examines the heterogeneous impact of the duration of exposure to gender-neutral reforms in the inheritance law in India on two latent domains of women empowerment: intrinsic, which pertains to expansion of agency and instrumental which relates to ability to make decisions. The time lag between the year of the amendment in the respective states and the year of marriage generate exogenous variation in reform exposure across women. The findings indicate a significant non-linear increase in the instrumental as well as intrinsic empowerment. Importantly, improvements in education along with increase in the age of marriage and changes in family structure are found to be the potential channels that signal gradual relaxation of social norms and explain the higher returns to exposure on empowerment.

Date: 2020-10
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Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2010.11460