Women’s Land Ownership and Child and Maternal Health Outcomes

Abstract

Land ownership plays a crucial role in empowering women, which can improve the health outcomes of women and children. Nepalese women predominantly depend on agriculture for their livelihoods; however, only a small fraction of them own land. This paper examines the relationship between women’s land ownership and child and maternal health outcomes using the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2001, 2011, and 2016. The empirical evaluation of the effect of land ownership typically suffers from omitted variable bias. In the absence of plausible instruments, I account for selection on unobservables using an approach that relates selection on the observables with selection on the unobservables to estimate bounds on the causal effects of land ownership (Altonji et al. 2005; Oster 2013). Results show positive associations between land ownership and decision making power of women that are unlikely to be driven entirely by correlations between land ownership and unobservable characteristics. I also find that mother’s land ownership decreases the probability of child being underweight, with a result that is robust to selection on unobservables.

Manda Tiwari
Manda Tiwari
PhD candidate in Economics

I am a PhD candidate in Economics at the University of Iowa.