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We will use the insights from several country case studies to understand the pathway to reform of gender-discriminatory laws. We intend to use these studies to demonstrate that there is considerable heterogeneity across countries in the relationship between de jure and de facto individual freedom. Legal reform in this area may be illustrative of legal reform that aims at promoting broader economic freedom. As a second step, we propose to summarize the case study findings into a report that highlights commonalities in legal change experiences across countries. This report can be used in policy school classes as teaching material.

As a third step, we propose to perform panel analysis on a global sample to test whether the findings of case studies extend to a global view of how legal change takes place, and what are the characteristics of countries that reform.

Fourth, we propose a second cross-country panel investigation on what the benefits of such legal change are in economic and social lives of women. This study will complement the country case studies in providing evidence of the link between de jure and de facto reform and its benefits.

As a final step, we propose to investigate whether the factors that determine the changes in the legal environment for women’s economic freedom also determine changes in the broader legal environment for operating freely in markets.

In summary, this grant focuses on the mechanism through which successful legal reform for women’s economic freedom takes place. At its broader level, the proposal aims to enrich the field of law and development. The link between these two lines of inquiry - on the effects of gendered laws and on the effects of regulatory change - lies in the legal determinants of freedom. Demonstrating that legal change brings positive outcomes in both the specific area of women's empowerment and in the broader area of business activity is the likely contribution of this project.