Sofia Amaral, ‘Do Improved Property Rights Decrease Violence Against Women in India?’

Using a legal change in inheritance law in India, this paper estimates the effect of women’s improved access to inheritance on violence committed against them. I use the staggered implementation of the Hindu Succession Act across states to identify the causal impact of the legislative amendments on police-reported violence against women and on self-reported intimate partner violence. I find a decrease in reported violence following the amendments and this effect is not due to changes in reporting behaviour or a generalised decrease in crime. Further, women eligible to inheritance are 17% less likely to be victims of domestic violence. These findings are explained by an improvement in husbands’ behaviour and in marriage market negotiations. I find weak evidence of changes in women’s decision-making. This suggests that while inheritance legislation improves women’s security, this may not necessarily be due changes in empowerment.

Amaral, Sofia, Do Improved Property Rights Decrease Violence Against Women in India? (October 2, 2014).

First posted 2014-10-04 18:40:34

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