Contrary to theories emphasising the importance of asset ownership for helping the rural poor out of poverty, a study by A. Nilesh Fernando at Harvard shows that in India, inheriting agricultural land can both restrict migration to urban areas (-0.02pc per acre) and reduce the likelihood of taking up nonagricultural work in rural areas (-1.8pc per acre). The effect of inheriting an additional acre is 10 times as large (-3.4pc per acre for migration; -21pc per acre for nonagricultural occupations) for those born into families with relatively small landholdings (less than three acres). Because selling, renting or leaving behind assets is restricted by cultural obligations — in this case, Hindu custom requires that the eldest son in the family support his parents in their old age, which often results in occupational succession — inheriting land can limit mobility for the poor, specifically firstborn sons.

(Source: Harvard)

Published in Dawn, Business & Finance weekly, February 22nd, 2016

Opinion

Editorial

First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...
Afghan puzzle
Updated 28 May, 2024

Afghan puzzle

Unless these elements are neutralised, it will not be possible to have the upper hand over terrorist groups.
Attacking minorities
28 May, 2024

Attacking minorities

Mobs turn into executioners due to the authorities’ helplessness before these elements.
Persistent scourge
Updated 29 May, 2024

Persistent scourge

THE challenge of polio in Pakistan has reached a new nadir, drawing grave concerns from the Technical Advisory Group...