Institutional Reform and Women's De Facto Rights in Pakistan

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Principal Investigators: Dr. Erica Field (Duke University) & Dr. Kate Vyborny (Duke University)

Implementing Partners: Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW)

Donors: Economic Development and Institutions (EDI), Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)

Project type: Phase 1: Pilot project Phase 2: Large-scale project (covering all 36 districts of Punjab)

Start Date: 1st March 2017

End Date: (Not specified)

Status: Phase 1 on-going

Project Background

One important constraint on women’s de facto legal rights in Pakistan is the fact that government officials who carry out basic legal functions such as marriage registration and the processing of inheritance of property often follow their own judgment. These people are ill-informed on details concerning the law, or respond under pressure from interested parties rather than complying strictly with the law.

Policy Implication

In the proposed pilot project, CERP will work in close collaboration with PCSW on the initial stages of rigorous impact evaluation of two major initiatives designed to address these challenges and ensure women’s de facto rights in two key areas: their legal share of inheritance, and key rights in marriage. To do so, we will evaluate (1) an initiative to impose new procedural requirements and incentives for government officials involved in property transfer, and (2) the first ever initiative to train approximately forty thousand (40,000) marriage registrars in thirty-six (36) districts of Punjab. Thus, the initiative targets extremely broad population of beneficiaries: all women in Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan.

Project Evaluation

If the study identifies an effect of either or both reforms on legal practices, it will prepare the ground for a future full-scale study of the impacts on women and their families through a household survey sampled directly from the administrative data.

Last modified on Friday, 10 August 2018 06:02