Women's Liberation as a Financial Innovation

Moshe Hazan, David Weiss, Hosny Zoabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In one of the greatest extensions of property rights in human history, common law countries began giving rights to married women in the 1850s. Before this “women's liberation,” the doctrine of coverture strongly incentivized parents of daughters to hold real estate, rather than financial assets such as money, stocks, or bonds. We exploit the staggered nature of coverture's demise across U.S. states to show that women's rights led to shifts in household portfolios, a positive shock to the supply of credit, and a reallocation of labor toward nonagriculture and capital-intensive industries. Investor protection thus deepened financial markets, aiding industrialization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2915-2956
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Finance
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


FundersFunder number
Pinhas Sapir Center
Israel Science Foundation1705/16
Russian Science Foundation5.3, 18-18-00466


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