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On the Structure of Tenancy contracts: Theory and Evidence fron 19th Century Rural Sicily

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  • Oriana Bandiera

Abstract

In a world with asymmetric information, contractual terms are an important incentive device. This paper studies the effect of crop characteristics on the choice between short-term and long-term tenancy contracts and on the choice between sharecropping and fixed rent contracts when the production process depends on two non-contractibles: effort devoted to current production and effort devoted to plant and soil maintenance. Long-term contracts are effective in providing incentive for non-contractible investment. Since, however, incentive provision is costly because of information rents, long-term contracts will be employed only when maintenance benefits are high enough. The predictions of the theory are tested on a unique data set containing 705 tenancy contracts signed between 1870 and 1880 in the province of Syracuse (Italy). The empirical evidence shows that indeed long term contracts were used if the crops grown had higher maintenance needs. Other comparative static results are derived and tested empirically.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers with number 19.

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Date of creation: Nov 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stidep:19

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Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

Related research

Keywords: Microeconomic analyses of economic development; asymmetric and private information; land ownership and tenure; land reforms; land use; irrigation; formal and informal sectors; shadow economy; institutional arrangements;

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  1. Alston, Lee J. & Higgs, Robert, 1982. "Contractual Mix in Southern Agriculture since the Civil War: Facts, Hypotheses, and Tests," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 327-353, June.
  2. MALCOMSON, James M. & SPINNEWYN, Frans, . "The multiperiod principal-agent problem," CORE Discussion Papers RP -803, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Rubinstein, Ariel & Yaari, Menahem E., 1983. "Repeated insurance contracts and moral hazard," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 74-97, June.
  4. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1973. "Incentives and Risk-Sharing in Sharecropping," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 353, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Shaban, Radwan Ali, 1987. "Testing between Competing Models of Sharecropping," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 893-920, October.
  6. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Maristella Botticini, 1999. "Endogenous Matching and the Empirical Determinants of Contract Form," Papers 0096, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  7. Dilip Mookherjee, 1995. "Informational Rents and Property Rights in Land," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 55, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  8. Hoffman, Philip T., 1984. "The Economic Theory of Sharecropping in Early Modern France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(02), pages 309-319, June.
  9. Fudenberg, Drew & Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1990. "Short-term contracts and long-term agency relationships," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-31, June.
  10. Pudney, Stephen & Galassi, Francesco L & Mealli, Fabrizia, 1998. "An Econometric Model of Farm Tenures in Fifteenth-Century Florence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(260), pages 535-56, November.
  11. Yatchew, Adonis & Griliches, Zvi, 1985. "Specification Error in Probit Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 134-39, February.
  12. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1985. "A Theory of Contractual Structure in Agriculture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 352-67, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Bandiera, Oriana, 2002. "Land Distribution, Incentives and the Choice of Production Techniques in Nicaragua," CEPR Discussion Papers 3141, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Hooper, Louise, 2008. "Paying for performance: Uncertainty, asymmetric information and the payment model," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 157-163, January.

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