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Widows' land rights and agricultural investment

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  • Dillon, Brian
  • Voena, Alessandra

Abstract

This paper examines the connection between widows' land inheritance rights and land investments in Zambia. We study whether the threat of land expropriation upon widowhood deters households from fallowing, applying fertilizer, and employing labor-intensive tillage techniques. Variation in inheritance by widows is based on customary village practices, which we observe in surveys of village leaders. Controlling for possible confounding factors, both OLS and IV estimates show lower levels of land investment by married couples in villages where widows do not inherit. Concern over prospective loss of land by the wives reduces investment in land quality even while the husband is alive.

Suggested Citation

  • Dillon, Brian & Voena, Alessandra, 2018. "Widows' land rights and agricultural investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 449-460.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:135:y:2018:i:c:p:449-460
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2018.08.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Land tenure security; Widowhood; Land investment; Gender discrimination; African development; Farm productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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