IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/18080.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Family Ties, Inheritance Rights, and Successful Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Ghana

Author

Listed:
  • Edward Kutsoati
  • Randall Morck

Abstract

Ghanaian custom views children as members of either their mother's or father's lineage (extended family), but not both. Patrilineal custom charges a man's lineage with caring for his widow and children, while matrilineal custom places this burden on the widows' lineage - her father, brothers, and uncles. Deeming custom inadequate, and to promote the nuclear family, Ghana enacted the Intestate Succession (PNDC) Law 111, 1985 and 1998 Children's Act 560 to force men to provide for their widows and children, as in Western cultures. Our survey shows that, although most people die intestate and many profess to know Law 111, it is rarely implemented. Knowledge of the law correlates with couples accumulating assets jointly and with inter-vivos husband to wife transfers, controlling for education. These effects are least evident for widows of matrilineal lineage men, suggesting a persistence of traditional norms. Widows with closer ties with their own or their spouse's lineage report greater financial support, as do those very few who benefit from legal wills or access Law 111 and, importantly, widows of matrilineal lineage. Some evidence also supports Act 560 benefiting nuclear families, especially if the decedent's lineage is matrilineal. Overall, our study confirms African traditional institutions' persistent importance, and the limited effects of formal law.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Kutsoati & Randall Morck, 2012. "Family Ties, Inheritance Rights, and Successful Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Ghana," NBER Working Papers 18080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18080 Note: CF
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18080.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2014. "Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 824-841, October.
    2. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    3. Fair, Ray C & Taylor, John B, 1983. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1169-1185, July.
    4. Krusell, Per & Rudanko, Leena, 2016. "Unions in a frictional labor market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 35-50.
    5. Jason G. Cummins & Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 243-284, April.
    6. Reder, Melvin W, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of Unions: The Public Sector and the Private," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 89-110, Spring.
    7. Mathieu Taschereau-Dumouchel, 2011. "The Union Threat," 2011 Meeting Papers 434, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. MacDonald, Glenn M & Robinson, Chris, 1992. "Unionism in a Competitive Industry," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, January.
    9. James A. Schmitz Jr., 2005. "What Determines Productivity? Lessons from the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron Ore Industries Following Their Early 1980s Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 582-625, June.
    10. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2009. "Women's Liberation: What's in It for Men?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1541-1591.
    11. Ohanian, Lee E., 2009. "What - or who - started the great depression?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2310-2335, November.
    12. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    13. David Card & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2003. "Unionization and Wage Inequality: A Comparative Study of the U.S, the U.K., and Canada," NBER Working Papers 9473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    15. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
    16. Baris Kaymak & Omer Acikgoz, 2011. "The Rising Skill Premium and Deunionization in the United States," 2011 Meeting Papers 1433, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor & Santaeulàlia-Llopis, Raül, 2010. "Redistributive shocks and productivity shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 931-948, November.
    18. Lee Ohanian & David Lagakos & Simeon Alder, 2012. "The Decline of the U.S. Rust Belt: A Macroeconomic Analysis," 2012 Meeting Papers 793, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Tarun Jain, 2014. "Where There Is a Will: Fertility Behavior and Sex Bias in Large Families," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(2), pages 393-423.
    2. Henderson, Morgan & Whatley, Warren, 2014. "Pacification and Gender in Colonial Africa: Evidence from the Ethnographic Atlas," MPRA Paper 61203, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Lambrecht, Isabel & Asare, Sarah, 2015. "Smallholders and land tenure in Ghana: Aligning context, empirics, and policy:," IFPRI discussion papers 1492, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2014. "On the Ethnic Origins of African Development: Chiefs and Pre-colonial Political Centralization," CEPR Discussion Papers 10257, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Lambrecht, Isabel Brigitte, 2016. "“As a Husband I Will Love, Lead, and Provide.” Gendered Access to Land in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 188-200.
    6. Asiedu, Edward & Ibanez, Marcela, 2014. "The weaker sex? Gender differences in punishment across Matrilineal and Patriarchal Societies," Discussion Papers 165743, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    7. Lambrecht, Isabel, 2016. "“As a husband I will love, lead, and provide:†Gendered access to land in Ghana:," IFPRI discussion papers 1514, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18080. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.