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This paper examines the impact of gender-progressive reforms to the inheritance law in India on women’s outcomes. Despite stipulating that daughters would have equal shares as sons in ancestral property, I find that the reform failed to increase the actual likelihood of women inheriting property. Instead, parents appear to be “gifting" their share of land to their sons in order to circumvent the law. However, parents also appear to be compensating their daughters for such disinheritance by giving them alternative transfers in the form of either higher dowries or more education following the reform.
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We use inheritance patterns over three generations of individuals to assess the impact of changes in the Hindu Succession Act that grant daughters equal coparcenary birth rights in joint family property that were denied to daughters in the past. We show that the amendment significantly increased daughters’ likelihood to inherit land, but that even after the amendment, substantial bias persists. Our results also indicate a robust increase in educational attainment of daughters, suggesting an alternative channel of wealth transfer.
Book
Land for the adivasi Santal women in Dumka, Jharkhand stands for security, social position and identity, and in this men have a distinct advantage. The time period covered is from historic times to the present. The role of government administrative bodies, NGOs and political leaders is also emphasized. © 2018 Nitya Rao and Social Science Press. All rights reserved.
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Do customary courts strategically adapt arbitration outcomes if they face increased competition by the formal law? Through a lab-in-field experiment with villagers and real customary judges in rural Ethiopia, we show that post-arbitration payouts to agents disfavored by the customary system are downwardly biased. Introducing a costly formal law reduces these biases and draws the decisions of customary judges significantly closer to the law. At the same time agents advantaged by the law do not exploit their increased bargaining power. Instead, they make offers that are less advantageous to themselves and, in equilibrium, only a fraction of them make direct use of the formal law. Our results suggest that local customary dispute resolution institutions may have a role to play in shifting preexisting customs toward a desired outcome. In areas where formal legal institutions have limited outreach, the effects of increased competition between formal law and customary legal institutions may rise from changes in the latter, rather than from plaintiffs seeking justice under the rule of law.
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Law reform in Pakistan attracts such disparate champions as the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the USAID and the Taliban. Common to their equally obsessive pursuit of ‘speedy justice’ is a remarkable obliviousness to the historical, institutional and sociological factors that alienate Pakistanis from their formal legal system. This pioneering book highlights vital and widely neglected linkages between the ‘narratives of colonial displacement’ resonant in the literature on South Asia's encounter with colonial law and the region's postcolonial official law reform discourses. Against this backdrop, it presents a typology of Pakistani approaches to law reform and critically evaluates the IFI-funded single-minded pursuit of ‘efficiency’ during the last decade. Employing diverse methodologies, it proceeds to provide empirical support for a widening chasm between popular, at times violently expressed, aspirations for justice and democratically deficient reform designed in distant IFI headquarters that is entrusted to the exclusive and unaccountable Pakistani ‘reform club’.
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This paper explores social actors’ arguments regarding daughters’ inheritance, their use in court, and the implications of legal pluralism on governance in Pakistan. It scrutinizes the notion of custom, non-state law, and positive law as crucial dynamics that shed light on the ways social actors make sense of power and governance. In Foucauldian terms, this paper deals with the formation of statements – their temporalization and their becoming but in particular sheds light on the potential logics of the perpetuation of gender discrimination in inheritance laws. This paper suggests that the everyday arguments that play a role in the elaboration of the story told to the courts and received by the judge have the role of actants. Within the framework of proceedings it is possible to isolate the micro-units on which the legal discourse is elaborated either for state- or non-state jurisdiction, or for both of them, not necessarily seen as antagonistic places, and not necessarily seen within a framework of justice and injustice. This paper concludes that notwithstanding polarized discourses on centralized and decentralized governance, everyday practices of law in Pakistan tend rather to perpetuate non-state law together with positive law as continuous and concomitant interlegalities in and beyond the state instead of exclusive and conflicting sources of legitimacy.
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Examined the status of rural women in one Pakistani village in terms of property inheritance, the authority structure, family eating patterns, the purdah (seclusion of women) system, role in farm operations, and health and leisure activities. A survey of 81 households indicated contradictions between attitudes and practices regarding women's status in these areas. Factors contributing to women's continued dependence on men were also identified. (French & Spanish abstracts) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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There is no part of the sacred law … which is regarded with such pride by Muslims, or has been worked out by their jurists in such extravagant detail, such meticulous precision or such a spirit of religious devotion. There is even a famous dictum attributed to the Prophet that a knowledge of the shares allotted to the various heirs under this system is equivalent to half the sum total of human knowledge.
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Based on field research in Dumka district, Jharkhand, this article examines the mechanisms through which women operationalize their rights to land. It questions the polarization of legitimation systems into statutory codes and customary practices, as operating independent of each other, and demonstrates the political and temporal situatedness of ‘law’, and the processes of hybridization that allow for the actualization of a legal right, by providing it social recognition and validity. The article explores the choice of different arenas by women for making their claims, with the choice of a particular arena depending not just on access and resource availability, but also on the women's social positionality.