What’s Mine is Yours: Evidence on Property Rights and Women’s Empowerment in Côte d’Ivoire

Last registered on May 17, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

What’s Mine is Yours: Evidence on Property Rights and Women’s Empowerment in Côte d’Ivoire
Initial registration date
August 27, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
August 28, 2020, 12:23 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
May 17, 2024, 6:02 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


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Primary Investigator

World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
University College London
PI Affiliation
Bocconi University
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
Stanford University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Customary norms and institutions hold sway in legal pluralist contexts across sub-Saharan Africa. Women in these settings tend to have weaker rights than men over the acquisition, division, and inheritance of assets that are central to productivity and welfare. This project studies the relative impact of two interventions aimed at strengthening women’s property rights in rural Côte d’Ivoire, in the context of the World Bank Land Policy Improvement and Implementation Project (PAMOFOR).

One way to strengthen women’s property rights is through the statutory declaration of those rights. Civil marriage registration offers a way to bring women under the protection of formal institutions, strengthen their property rights, and potentially enhance efficiency and welfare. Yet we know little about whether the formalization of customary marriage contracts effectively empowers women and if so, under what conditions. Moreover, we know little about how it compares to other strategies to strengthen women's property rights, such as formally registering a portion of household land in women's names. The relative impact of an immediate but one-off strategy (such as an asset redistribution within the household) versus a change in marital property regime (through a civil marriage) with effects that may take months or years to realize remains unclear.

The interventions, which will be executed jointly by the World Bank and the Government of Cote d’Ivoire, will coincide with the adoption of a new set of legal reforms in Côte d’Ivoire to strengthen women’s rights under marriage and inheritance.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Donald, Aletheia et al. 2024. "What’s Mine is Yours: Evidence on Property Rights and Women’s Empowerment in Côte d’Ivoire." AEA RCT Registry. May 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6300-1.2
Experimental Details


This study evaluates two interventions with the potential to strengthen women’s property rights.

Marriage upgrading: The primary intervention under study is “marriage upgrading”, which will assist couples who are customarily married to enter into a civil marriage within the default ‘community of property’ regime. A field officer will administer a short video to both spouses in randomly selected households, explaining the legal implications and potential benefits of civil marriage under this regime. The field officer will then offer the couple the option to receive a fully-subsidized marriage license under the community of property regime. This offer will include: full coverage of the administrative costs for statutory marriage; assistance with the retrieval of necessary documentation (including a specially-issued birth certificate from their natal community); assistance with the completion and submission of necessary administrative paperwork; and a small wedding celebration with refreshments. Couples who accept will be given an appointed time to appear before the sous-prefét for the marriage.

Land reallocation: This intervention will consist of an information package in the form of a short video. The video will expose selected beneficiaries to tailored messages on the potential benefits of a wife’s land ownership. This intervention will take place during the land rights “clarification” phase occurring in each village as part of PAMOFOR. A field officer will schedule an in-person household visit with each randomly selected couple and ask the couple for their consent to show them a brief video on the tablet. The officer will communicate that the video is intended for the couple only, but will record anyone else’s presence during the viewing. After the viewing, the field officer will explain that s/he has come to propose that the husband give a part of his land, ideally a minimum of 0.5 ha, to his wife during the upcoming free land certification. If they accept, after their plots have been measured during the delimitation phase of PAMOFOR, a certificate will be issued for that plot in the wife’s name alongside the certificates for the other (husband’s) plots.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Shorter-term: perceived tenure security, decision-making over land use, crop choice and investment in land, time-use, labor supply, relationship quality.
Longer-term: agricultural productivity and revenue, off-farm revenue, expenditures, bargaining power.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Longer-term: agricultural productivity and revenue, off-farm revenue, expenditures, time-use, bargaining power.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
gender attitudes, credit access, political participation.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We will draw a random sample of households based on the sample eligibility criteria (being a customarily married, landowning Ivorian-born couple). These households will be located in three of the PAMOFOR regions (Agneby-Tiassa, La Mé and N’Zi Comoé).

Within these villages, treatment will be randomized at the household-level. Assignment to the treatment and control groups will be performed using stratified within-village randomization, following a household census in each study village to screen for eligible households. The selection of households within each village will be further stratified by marital status (monogamous or polygamous) and duration of marriage (above or below the median). The research team will add matrilineal status as a stratification variable provided the “cell size”, to be validated at baseline, is sufficiently large.

Our primary comparison will be between Marriage Upgrading and Control. This will give us the causal estimate of a woman entering into statutory marriage. We additionally plan to compare the impact of Marriage Upgrading to that of Land Reallocation (see attached pre-analysis plan for additional details).

To test for the presence of within-village behavioral spillovers (e.g., wives in the control group increasing their decision-making over household resources by modelling their treatment neighbors’ behavior), we will also identify a set of “pure” control households residing in villages outside of the gender intervention zone.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Randomization will be at the household-level (effects of PAMOFOR project overall—evaluated separately—will be at the sous-prefecture level).
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 2,000 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
622 households offered land reallocation intervention;
615 households offered marriage upgrading intervention;
830 control households, 150 of which in villages where no gender intervention is taking place.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University College London
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Comité National D’Ethique des Sciences de la Vie et de la Sante (CNESVS)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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