May 2016

IZA DP No. 9930: Property Rights and Gender Bias: Evidence from Land Reform in West Bengal

published in: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2019, 11 (2), 1-34

While land reforms are typically pursued in order to raise productivity and reduce inequality across households, an unintended consequence may be increased within-household gender inequality. We analyse a tenancy registration programme in West Bengal, and find that it increased child survival and reduced fertility. However, we also find that it intensified son preference in families without a first-born son to inherit the land title. These families exhibit no reduction in fertility, an increase in the probability that a subsequent birth is male, and a substantial increase in the survival advantage of subsequent sons over daughters.