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The transformation of property rights in Kenya's Maasiland: triggers and motivations

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  • Mwangi, Esther
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    Abstract

    "This paper explores the puzzle of why the pastoral Maasai of Kajiado, Kenya, supported the individualization of their collectively held group ranches, an outcome that is inconsistent with theoretical expectation. Findings suggest that individuals and groups will seek to alter property rights in their anticipation of net gains from a new assignment, even as they seek to eliminate disadvantages that were present in the status quo property rights structure. Heightened perceptions of impending land scarcity, failures of collective decision making, the promise of new income opportunities and the possibility of accessing capital markets motivated individuals to support group ranch subdivision. More importantly individuals were confronted with a declining security of tenure over their lands. Their supporting a transition to individual rights also represents a rational response anticipated to secure land claims against unauthorized appropriations by both Maasai and non-Maasai elite. Given the differentiated structure of group ranch communities, the costs and benefits of property transformation were unevenly distributed. The political process yielded beneficial outcomes for those with access to decision making, while creating vulnerabilities for those with less access such as women, the youth and poor herders." Author's Abstract

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    File URL: http://www.capri.cgiar.org/pdf/capriwp35.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series CAPRi working papers with number 35.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:35

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    Keywords: East Africa; africa south of sahara; Pastoral systems; Privatization; Land tenure; Group membership; Gender; Property rights;

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    1. Robert A. Blewett, 1995. "Property Rights as a Cause of the Tragedy of the Commons: Institutional Change and the Pastoral Maasai of Kenya," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 477-490, Fall.
    2. Alchian, Armen A. & Demsetz, Harold, 1973. "The Property Right Paradigm," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 16-27, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Mwangi, Esther, 2007. "Subdividing the Commons: Distributional Conflict in the Transition from Collective to Individual Property Rights in Kenya's Maasailand," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 815-834, May.

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