The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana

48 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2005

Date Written: November 2005


We examine the impact of ambiguous and contested land rights on investment and productivity in agricultural in Akwapim, Ghana. We show that individuals who hold powerful positions in a local political hierarchy have more secure tenure rights, and that as a consequence they invest more in land fertility and have substantially higher output. The intensity of investments on different plots cultivated by a given individual correspond to that individual's security of tenure over those specific plots, and in turn to the individual's position in the political hierarchy relevant to those specific plots. We interpret these results in the context of a simple model of the political allocation of land rights in local matrilineages.

Keywords: Land tenure, Investment, Institutions

JEL Classification: O12, O13, O17, P48

Suggested Citation

Udry, Christopher and Goldstein, Markus P., The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana (November 2005). Yale University Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper No. 929, Available at SSRN:

Christopher Udry (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Markus P. Goldstein

World Bank ( email )

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

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