Investigating the Impacts of Increased Rural Land Tenure Security: A Systematic Review of the Evidence
Journal of Rural Studies, 2018
Posted: 8 Jan 2019
Date Written: July 2018
This paper investigates the multiple effects of increased land tenure security on rural people through a systematic review of the available evidence. The research involves collecting and synthesising the robust quantitative and qualitative research around this topic and is guided by a theory of change that reflects expected effects from the main land tenure security-related activities. Based on the analysis of 59 robust studies, the paper finds strong evidence for positive effects of land tenure security on productive and environmentally-beneficial agricultural investments as well as on female empowerment, but a lack of support for links with productivity, access to credit, and income. Key contextual factors that shape the validity of expected causal chains are also identified and relate to the potential for discrimination and elite capture, which can affect intervention implementation and enforcement; historical experiences with land ownership, which can shape perceptions of current land tenure security, regardless of the actual level; and the characteristics of local lending institutions, which can influence intended effects on credit access. The paper also finds that more research is needed to capture long-term effects of land formalisation interventions and to shed further light on potential environmental benefits.
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