From Mother to Daughter: Does Equal Inheritance Property Laws Reform Improve Female Labor Supply and Educational Attainments in India?

    1. Study Information

       

      This section discusses the 2016 article by Rahul Sapkal, “From Mother to Daughter: Does Equal Inheritance Property Laws Reform Improve Female Labor Supply and Educational Attainments in India?”1

      This study uses data from two rounds of the National Sample Survey (NSS) conducted in 1999–2000 (55th round) and 2004–2005 (64th round). The NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) surveys, which are representative at the state-district level and have an overall response rate of 94 percent, contain detailed information on household characteristic, individual information, activity status, debt information, etc. This cross-sectional survey is the official source of nationally representative employment and earning data used by the Government of India. From these surveys, the study focuses on the following variables: gender, education, age, family members, female labor force participation (principle status), wage income, non-wage income, household land holding, social category, religious category, and marital status.

    2. Questions posed
      • Did the HSA reform have effects on female labor supply and educational attainments?
    3. Description of intervention

      The intervention was a change in the Hindu Succession Act (HSA) to provide daughters and sons with equal rights to inherit ancestral property. The HSA of 1956 provided inheritance rights to ancestral property to sons only. Five states, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, and Karnataka, amended this law in 1976, 1986, 1989, and 1994 to include equal inheritance rights to ancestral land for daughters. The Succession Law was amended nationally in 2005 to grant daughters equal inheritance rights to ancestral land. The law only applies to intestate succession and only applies to Hindus.

    4. Context of findings

      Staggered changes in the HSA as well as a pluralistic legal system (Hindu, Muslim and Civil personal law) enabled the comparison study.

    5. Key findings

      The equal inheritance property law reform had significant effect on the decision to invest in women’s education. This positive effect is also observed in their daughter’s educational attainment. The results are much stronger for younger cohorts as compared to older cohorts who are less likely to be affected by the reforms. The improvement in the inheritance law also increased women’s labor force participation through enhancing their autonomy in the household decision making process.

    NOTES
    1. Sapkal, R. (2016). From Mother to Daughter: Does Equal Inheritance Property Laws Reform Improve Female Labor Supply and Educational Attainments in India?. Asian Journal of Law and Economics, 8(1)