Intrahousehold bargaining dynamics have long favored men, and development research identified multiples causes that explain this phenomenon, including inheritance rights. This study evaluates the economic impact of the 1994 Compilation of Islamic Law, which aimed to improve Indonesian Muslim women's inheritance rights, on women's intrahousehold bargaining power.

The data for this study were drawn from the Indonesia Family Life Survey. Given the intangible nature of bargaining power and drawing from the development literature, the proportion of household expenditure share on essentials over overall expenditure was used as a proxy for the dependent variable of interest. It is predicted that improved bargaining power for women should increase this proportion. This hypothesis was evaluated using a Difference-in-Difference estimation. The results provide suggestive evidence that the Reform did empower women within the household, but they fail to be statistically significant at conventional levels. While it is possible that the Reform was truly ineffective in improving women’s leverage within the household, the lack of significance of the results can also be attributed to sampling issues, a lack of systematic enforcement of the Reform, and to severe myopia on the spouses’ part. Future research can address these issues by employing more extensive data sets and producing more nuanced proxies to measure Indonesian women’s intrahousehold bargaining power.


Long, Melanie


Global and International Studies


Asian History | Economics | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | International Relations | Islamic Studies | Law


Economics, Islamic Law, Indonesia, Feminist Studies, Inheritance Rights, Bargaining Power

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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