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Women's Inheritance Rights and Fertility Decisions: Evidence from India

Nayana Bose () and Shreyasee Das ()
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Nayana Bose: Department of Economics, Scripps College

No 2101, DETU Working Papers from Department of Economics, Temple University

Abstract: We analyze the impact of the Hindu Succession Amendment Act (HSAA) that mandated equal inheritance rights for women, on their fertility choices in the context of son-preference in rural India. We use the NFHS-3 data and exploit the variation in timing of the introduction of the HSAA across states to employ a difference-in-difference strategy. While both reform and non-reform women had similar son preference and desire for children, treated women, on average, had 0.8 additional children than their counterparts. We find evidence that the fertility increase was a result of women being able to use the stopping rule more effectively to achieve son-preference. Women impacted by the reform also had a higher proportion of sons for a given family size, indicating stronger son preference among treated women. Finally, we find the amendment lead to a decrease in domestic violence, improvements in maternal health, and women's decision-making power. This greater empowerment could be the potential mechanism that allowed women to increase fertility to realize their son preference.

Keywords: Inheritance Rights; Bargaining Power; Fertility; Son-Preference; Stopping Rules; Gender; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 J16 O12 P48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem and nep-dev
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http://www.cla.temple.edu/RePEc/documents/DETU_21_01.pdf First version, 2021 (application/pdf)

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