Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

Spring 5-27-2021


human capital, height, bargaining, parental investments, developing countries, India


Child height is a significant predictor of human capital and economic status throughout adulthood. Moreover, non-unitary household models of family behavior posit that an increase in women’s bargaining power can influence child health. We study the effects of an inheritance policy change, the Hindu Succession Act (HSA), which conferred enhanced inheritance rights to unmarried women in rural India, on child height. We find robust evidence that the HSA improved the height and weight of children. In addition, we find evidence consistent with a channel that the policy improved the women’s intrahousehold bargaining power within the household, leading to improved parental investments for children. These study findings are also compatible with the notion that children do better when their mothers control a more significant fraction of the family. Therefore, policies that empower women can have additional positive spillovers for children’s human capital.


File updated on June 21, 2021.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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