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Journal Article

Property rights and gender bias: evidence from land reform in West Bengal


Publication date

Apr 2019


We examine intra-household gender-differentiated effects of property rights securitisation following West Bengal's tenancy registration program, using two independently gathered datasets. In both samples, higher program implementation increased male child survival rates in families without a firstborn son, but not in those that already have a firstborn male child. We argue this reflects intensified son preference as land rights improve, ostensibly to ensure a male heir to inherit land. Consistent with this, girls with firstborn brothers also experience increased survival, but not girls with firstborn sisters. The gender bias manifests both in infant mortality rates and the sex ratio at birth.

Published in

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics

Volume and page numbers

11 , 205 -237





Law And Legislation, Childbearing: Fertility, and Housing Market


University of Essex Research Repository -

Related publications

  1. Property rights and gender bias: evidence from land reform in West Bengal

    Sonia Bhalotra, Abhishek Chakravarty, Dilip Mookherjee, et al.

    1. Law And Legislation
    2. Childbearing: Fertility
    3. Housing Market


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