Descent Rules and Strategic Transfers. Evidence from Matrilineal Groups in Ghana
AbstractTraditional descent systems can roughly be divided into patrilineal and matrilineal. In the latter, a man’s heir is not his own child but rather his sister’s son. The paper examines the implications of this social norm for the pattern of inter-vivos transfers using household level data from rural Ghana, where the largest ethnic group is traditionally matrilineal. In particular, it tests the predictions of a model of strategic behaviour according to which children should respond to the threat of disinheritance by increasing transfers to their parents during lifetime to induce a donation of land before the default (matrilineal) inheritance is enforced. I find that the credibility of customary norms enforcement, as proxied by the presence of a nephew in the father’s household, significantly increases the probability of receiving transfers from children for Akans but not for other groups. The effect is specific to nephews and not to other co-resident boys. This pattern of behaviour can affect asset accumulation decisions across generations.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6111.
Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Other versions of this item:
- La Ferrara, Eliana, 2007. "Descent rules and strategic transfers. Evidence from matrilineal groups in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 280-301, July.
- O16 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
- O17 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AFR-2007-02-24 (Africa)
- NEP-ALL-2007-02-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2007-02-24 (Development)
- NEP-SOC-2007-02-24 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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