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Property Rights and Gender Bias: Evidence from Land Reform in West Bengal

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  • Sonia Bhalotra
  • Abhishek Chakravarty
  • Dilip Mookherjee
  • Francisco J. Pino

Abstract

We examine intra-household gender-differentiated effects of property rights securitisation following West Bengal's tenancy registration program, using two independently gathered datasets. In both samples, higher program implementation increased male child survival rates in families without a firstborn son, but not in those that already have a firstborn male child. We argue this reflects intensified son preference as land rights improve, ostensibly to ensure a male heir to inherit land. Consistent with this, girls with firstborn brothers also experience increased survival, but not girls with firstborn sisters. The gender bias manifests both in infant mortality rates and the sex ratio at birth.

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  • Sonia Bhalotra & Abhishek Chakravarty & Dilip Mookherjee & Francisco J. Pino, 2019. "Property Rights and Gender Bias: Evidence from Land Reform in West Bengal," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 205-237, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:11:y:2019:i:2:p:205-37
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20160262
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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