The Effects of Land Title Registration on Tenure Security, Investment and the Allocation of Productive Resources

41 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2020

See all articles by Andrew Agyei-Holmes

Andrew Agyei-Holmes

World Bank

Niklas Buehren

World Bank

Markus Goldstein

World Bank

Robert Darko Osei

University of Ghana - Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)

Isaac Osei-Akoto

University of Ghana - Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)

Christopher Udry

Northwestern University

Date Written: September 2020

Abstract

Smallholder farmers’ investment decisions and the efficiency of resource allocation depend on the security of land tenure. This paper develops a simple model that captures essential institutional features of rural land markets in Ghana, including the dependence of future rights over land on current cultivation and land rental decisions. The model predictions guide the evaluation of a pilot land titling intervention that took place in an urbanizing area located in the Central Region of Ghana. The evaluation is based on a regression discontinuity design combined with three rounds of household survey data collected over a period of six years. The analysis finds strong markers for the program’s success in registering land in the targeted program area. However, land registration does not translate into agricultural investments or increased credit taking. Instead, treated households decrease their amount of agricultural labor, accompanied by only a small reduction of agricultural production and no changes in productivity. In line with this result, households decrease their landholdings amid a surge in land valuations. The analysis uncovers important within- household differences in how women and men respond differentially to the program. There appears to be a general shift to nonfarm economic activities, and women’s business profits increased considerably.

Keywords: property rights, land tenure, allocation

JEL Classification: I38, O18, Q15, R52

Suggested Citation

Agyei-Holmes, Andrew and Buehren, Niklas and Goldstein, Markus P. and Osei, Robert Darko and Osei-Akoto, Isaac and Udry, Christopher, The Effects of Land Title Registration on Tenure Security, Investment and the Allocation of Productive Resources (September 2020). Global Poverty Research Lab Working Paper No. 20-107, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3694776 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3694776

Andrew Agyei-Holmes

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Niklas Buehren

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Markus P. Goldstein

World Bank ( email )

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

Robert Darko Osei

University of Ghana - Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) ( email )

P.O BOX LG 74
Legon
Ghana

Isaac Osei-Akoto

University of Ghana - Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) ( email )

P.O BOX LG 74
Legon
Ghana

Christopher Udry (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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