Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MSIDEC)



First Advisor

Elizabeth Katz


Matrilineal inheritance practices in Malawi exogenously determine female land holdings at the time of marriage, allowing for the identification of the effect of increased female bargaining power on household consumption decisions. I use the matrilineal ethnicity of the head of household as an instrument for the share of total household land inherited by the female head or male head’s wife. I find that child’s height-for-age decreases with female assets, and evidence suggesting increased consumption from households’ own production. Since the food basket from own consumption is high in carbs but not nutritious, long-term child health suffers despite receiving more resources than their peers. This paper uses an extensive data set from Malawi to explore the nature of both cooperative and noncooperative household bargaining.