Sep 29, 2012

Asset Inheritance in Sub-Saharan Africa

The new number of the journal Development Policy Review (September 2012) has several articles on inheritance and poverty. In some countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, when the husband dies, assets are not inherited by the widow and children but by other relatives. More research is need. But one of the papers concludes
  • Across the 15 DHS [a survey?] countries, less than half of widows report inheriting any assets (47 percent, ranging from 22 percent in Sierra Leone to 66 percent in Rwanda). 
  • Report of inheriting the majority of assets is lower (32 percent ranging from 13 percent in Sierra Leone to 60 percent in Rwanda). In all countries except Rwanda and Senegal, the spouses’ family is reported to inherit the majority of assets. 
  • Bivariate analysis across the 15 countries generally supports the hypotheses that older, wealthier, more educated women have a better chance of protecting assets from dispossession. 
  • Value of asset inheritances is significant in determining changes in household consumption and asset stocks across models in data from the Kagera region. 
  • The relationship for inheritances and welfare are particularly strong for land inheritance and within a sub-sample of households in which widows reside.
A graph from the paper: "Who inherits the majority of assets?"

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