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Does reinforcing spouses’ land rights improve children’s outcomes? Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment in rural Vietnam

Julia Anna Matz, IIIS and Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin
Gaia Narciso, IIIS and Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin

IIIS Discussion Paper No. 348


The aim of this paper is to investigate the relationship between laws strengthening women’s rights, and children’s outcomes, namely child labor and educational attainment. We analyze the effects of a land reform introduced in Vietnam in 2003 that had the objective of reinforcing women’s land rights within households. The introduction of the 2003 Land Law represents a quasi-natural experiment which allows us to analyze how legal reforms are transformed and adopted by social norms. We investigate the effects of being part of the population of households targeted by the land law with the help of a household survey that permits detailed investigation of property rights at the plot level. We show that the land reform contributed to reducing girls’ participation in household agricultural production and to increasing girls’ educational attainment. We do not find comparable effects for boys.

Key words: Child labor, education, land rights, gender, land reform, Vietnam.
JEL classification: D13, O18, R20, R52

Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).