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Better than nothing? : dowry in the absence of the legal protection of women's inheritance rights

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  • Makino, Momoe

Abstract

The practice of dowry is often thought to be the root cause of the unequal treatment of women in India. For women without inheritance rights, however, dowry may function as their only source of protection. Using a nationwide dataset and exploiting a natural experimental situation, this study explores the effects of dowry on women's empowerment in India, a society where women do not have inheritance rights. In such a society, dowry seems to enhance women's status in the marital household. The effects reverse when women have equal inheritance rights as their brothers. Empirical analysis suggests that the outright ban on dowry that ignores the context may not necessarily benefit women.

Suggested Citation

  • Makino, Momoe, 2015. "Better than nothing? : dowry in the absence of the legal protection of women's inheritance rights," IDE Discussion Papers 537, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper537
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    India; Women; Social customs; Property law; Marriage; Dowry; Women’s empowerment; Inheritance rights; Amendment;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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