Formalizing Rural Land Rights in West Africa: Early Evidence from a Randomized Impact Evaluation in Benin

52 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Markus Goldstein

Markus Goldstein

World Bank

Kenneth Houngbedji

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Florence Kondylis

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Michael O'Sullivan

World Bank

Harris Selod

National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA); National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST); The World Bank; Paris School of Economics (PSE); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: April 6, 2016

Abstract

This paper presents early evidence from the first large-scale randomized-controlled trial of a land formalization program. The study examines the links between land demarcation and investment in rural Benin in light of a model of agricultural production under insecure tenure. The demarcation process involved communities in the mapping and attribution of land rights; cornerstones marked parcel boundaries and offered lasting landmarks. Consistent with the model, improved tenure security under demarcation induces a shift toward long-term investment on treated parcels. This investment does not yet coincide with gains in agricultural productivity. The analysis also identifies significant gender-specific effects. Female-managed landholdings in treated villages are more likely to be left fallow?an important soil fertility investment. Women further respond to an exogenous tenure security change by moving production away from relatively secure, demarcated land and toward less secure land outside the village to guard those parcels.

Keywords: Common Property Resource Development, Legislation, Economics and Gender, Gender and Poverty, Gender and Economic Policy, Agricultural Economics, Legal Products, Urban Housing, Urban Governance and Management, Legal Reform, Urban Housing and Land Settlements, Social Policy, Gender and Economics, Judicial System Reform, Regulatory Regimes, Municipal Management and Reform

Suggested Citation

Goldstein, Markus P. and Houngbedji, Kenneth and Kondylis, Florence and O'Sullivan, Michael and Selod, Harris, Formalizing Rural Land Rights in West Africa: Early Evidence from a Randomized Impact Evaluation in Benin (April 6, 2016). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7435, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2671567

Markus P. Goldstein (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

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Kenneth Houngbedji

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

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Paris, 75014 75014
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Florence Kondylis

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

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United States

Michael O'Sullivan

World Bank ( email )

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Harris Selod

National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) ( email )

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+33 1 4313 6362 (Fax)

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST)

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
France

The World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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