Does Women’s Land Ownership Promote Their Empowerment? Empirical Evidence from Nepal

Dr

Khushbu Mishra

(She/Her)

Assistant Professor

Stetson University

An Economist with research interests in Gender, Agriculture, & Development
Nepalese

Overview

An empirical examination of the role of women’s land ownership, either alone or jointly, as a means of improving their intra-household bargaining power in the areas of own healthcare, major household purchases, and visiting family or relatives

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Key Findings

Endogeneity-corrected estimates (using logit and probit models) are significantly higher than their uncorrected counterparts. And whether corrected or uncorrected for endogeneity, the estimated effects of land ownership in 2011 are quantitatively higher than those in 2001.
The increase in empowerment over time is related to a more precise definition of land ownership being formulated and it could be influenced by the 2002 and 2007 amendments affording stronger land ownership rights to women.

    How to apply research

    Enhance land ownership of females by subsidising land titling for women.
    Encouraging joint titling through marriage.
    Similar approaches can be taken for other assets, for example, home ownership.
    In similar context to Nepal, results can be applicable to India and Bangladesh since they have a similar culture and patriarchal practices.

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      About this research

      This Journal Article was part of a collaborative effort

      Abdoul Sam

      This research was independently conducted and did not receive funding from outside of the university.

      Recommended for

      About this research

      This research was independently conducted and did not receive funding from outside of the university.

      This paper was co-authored

      Abdoul Sam

      Recommended for

      What findings means

      The major findings were endogeneity-corrected estimates (using logit and probit models) are significantly higher than their uncorrected counterparts. And whether corrected or uncorrected for endogeneity, the estimated effects of land ownership in 2011 are quantitatively higher than those in 2001. This demonstrates that land ownership plays an important role in combating gender discrimination by enhancing bargaining power of women.

      The increase in empowerment over time is related to a more precise definition of land ownership being formulated and it could be influenced by the 2002 and 2007 amendments affording stronger land ownership rights to women.

      Empowerment is defined by household decision-making in areas of own healthcare, major household purchases, and visits to family or relatives.

      Policy implications are: land ownership can play a significant role in combating gender discrimination by enhancing the bargaining power of women. Administrative power to build at the local level can advance gender equity in land titling and disseminate information on its importance and procedures to local households that can prove useful to women’s empowerment, as often lack of education results in women not claiming their constitutional rights. However, it should be noted that legislative and local administrative reforms alone may not be enough to generate significant gains in women’s empowerment without further institutional changes and changes in cultural attitudes that disfavour women.

      Methodology

      Research was managed over four stages. These were:

      1. Data collection through NDHS survey

      2. Constructed primary variables, instrumental variables, and empowerment variables

      3. Three estimation phases employ the different models (ordered logit, ordinary logit, and IPW models)

      4. Comparison of results

      But over the the study time period, our definition of land ownership changed.

      Glossary

      Land ownership
      Having legal rights to agricultural land in Nepali context
      Empowerment
      Having agency to make household decisions, either alone or jointly
      CEM
      A non-parametric matching technique

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      Want to read the full paper? It is available open access

      Mishra, & Sam, A. G. (2016). Does Women’s Land Ownership Promote Their Empowerment? Empirical Evidence from Nepal. World Development, 78, 360–371.