Widowhood and Asset Inheritance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Empirical Evidence from 15 Countries
Article first published online: 6 AUG 2012
© The Author 2012. Development Policy Review © 2012 Overseas Development Institute.
Development Policy Review
Special Issue: Inheritance and the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty
Volume 30, Issue 5, pages 543–571, September 2012
How to Cite
Peterman, A. (2012), Widowhood and Asset Inheritance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Empirical Evidence from 15 Countries. Development Policy Review, 30: 543–571. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7679.2012.00588.x
- Issue published online: 6 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 6 AUG 2012
- first submitted October 2011; final revision accepted May 2012
- asset inheritance;
- sub-Saharan Africa;
Widows in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are perceived to face discrimination in asset inheritance, leading to poverty for themselves and their children. However, large-sample empirical research supporting this claim is scarce. This article explores asset inheritance among widows using two data sources: (i) nationally representative demographic and health survey (DHS) data from 15 SSA countries, and (ii) a 13-year longitudinal panel from the Kagera region in north-west Tanzania. Results indicate that, across the 15 DHS countries, less than half of widows report inheriting any assets; the proportion reporting inheriting the majority of assets is lower. Findings from Kagera indicate that the value of inheritance is significant in determining changes in long-term household welfare.