Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Female Land Ownership & Fertility in Nepal

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 8:30 AM
Merrick II (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Averi Chakrabarti, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The earlier belief in the negative relationship between population size and economic development is now considered to be too simplistic. It has come to be accepted that population trends are in fact associated with economic and social development. This is especially relevant for developing countries that have teeming populations and/or high fertility rates. Hence, it is important to seek a better understanding of the factors that shape demographic patterns and changes. There is much literature that focuses on the need to improve the lives of women, not only because it is an issue of equity and human rights, but because it is an integral part of the development process. One potential driver of female welfare is female land and property ownership. Very few studies have focused on the relationship between female land ownership and fertility, which is what I do in this paper. I do so within the context of Nepal.

I use Demographic and Health Survey data for Nepal from the year 2011 to test the hypothesis that there is a negative relationship between female land ownership and fertility in the country. I conduct a propensity score matching procedure to construct a comparison group for the female land owners in my study sample. This allows me to compare the degree to which female ownership of land determines the number of children a woman has.

This analysis has implications for developing countries like Nepal that have patriarchal societies in which norms dictate that land should remain within patrilineal lines, but which are gradually reforming their land laws to enhance the land rights of women.