Property Rights and Intra-Household Bargaining
This paper examines whether an individual-level transfer of property rights increases the individual's bargaining power within the household. The question is analyzed in the context of a housing reform that occurred in China that gave existing tenants the opportunity to purchase the homes that they had been renting from their state employers. The rights to each housing unit were granted to a particular employee, so property rights were defined at the individual level rather than the household level. The results indicate that transferring ownership rights to men increased household consumption of some male-favored goods and women's time spent on chores. Transferring ownership rights to women decreased household consumption of some male-favored goods.
This paper has benefited from comments from Santosh Anagol, A.V. Chari, Nancy Qian, Nicola Persico and various seminar participants. Lizi Chen provided excellent research assistance. All errors are my own. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.