IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Property Rights and Labour Supply in Ethiopia


  • Kenneth Houngbedji


In rural areas agricultural plots are seldom delineated and can be encroached upon by neighbours. Under these circumstances labour supply can be inefficiently distorted to safeguard the plots from encroachment. Using panel data, we study the variation of household labour supply following a land registration programme which has demarcated agricultural landholdings with cornerstones and has issued a documentary evidence of the household land rights. Our results indicate that after the registration of their landholdings, households with a land certificate have reduced total time allocated to farming activities with no impact on agricultural yields. The reduction in labour supply is primarily driven by a decrease of time allocated to the pre-planting season. This is consistent with qualitative evidence that plots under cultivation have no visible sign of demarcation during pre-planting and disputes arise as neighbouring landholders pushed the boundaries of their plots while ploughing. Following land registration, the cornerstones reduce the need for guarding parcels as they make encroachment easier to detect.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Houngbedji, 2018. "Property Rights and Labour Supply in Ethiopia," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 131, pages 137-179.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2018:i:131:p:137-179
    DOI: 10.15609/annaeconstat2009.131.0137

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wibke Crewett & Benedikt Korf, 2008. "Ethiopia: Reforming Land Tenure," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(116), pages 203-220, June.
    2. Crewett, Wibke & Bogale, Ayalneh & Korf, Benedikt, 2008. "Land tenure in Ethiopia: Continuity and change, shifting rulers, and the quest for state control," CAPRi working papers 91, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Congdon Fors, Heather & Houngbedji, Kenneth & Lindskog, Annika, 2019. "Land certification and schooling in rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 190-208.
    2. Aberra, Adam & Chemin, Matthieu, 2021. "Does legal representation increase investment? Evidence from a field experiment in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    3. Kotchikpa Gabriel Lawin & Lota Tamini, 2018. "Droits de propriété foncière et performance des petits producteurs agricoles des pays en développement : une synthèse de la littérature empirique," CIRANO Working Papers 2018s-05, CIRANO.
    4. Moshoeshoe,Ramaele Elias, 2020. "Long-Term Effects of Free Primary Education on Educational Achievement : Evidence from Lesotho," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9404, The World Bank.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hasanbasri, Ardina & Koolwal, Gayatri & Kilic, Talip & Moylan, Heather, 2021. "Multidimensionality of Land Ownership Among Men and Women in Sub-Saharan Africa," 2021 Conference, August 17-31, 2021, Virtual 315317, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Bezabih, Mintewab & Kohlin, Gunnar & Mannberg, Andrea, 2011. "Trust, tenure insecurity, and land certification in rural Ethiopia," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 833-843.
    3. Addiswork Tilahun Teklemariam & Logan Cochrane, 2021. "The Rush to the Peripheries: Land Rights and Tenure Security in Peri-Urban Ethiopia," Land, MDPI, vol. 10(2), pages 1-20, February.
    4. Kenneth Houngbedji, 2015. "Property Rights and Labour Supply in Ethiopia," PSE Working Papers halshs-01145827, HAL.
    5. Hanane Sharif Ahmed, 2017. "Gender and rural land reform in Ethiopia: reform process, tenure security, and investment," Economics PhD Theses 0417, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    6. Congdon Fors, Heather & Houngbedji, Kenneth & Lindskog, Annika, 2019. "Land certification and schooling in rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 190-208.
    7. Bezabih, Mintewab & Holden, Stein, 2010. "The Role of Land Certification in Reducing Gender Gaps in Productivity in Rural Ethiopia," RFF Working Paper Series dp-10-23-efd, Resources for the Future.
    8. Akpalu, Wisdom & Bezabih, Mintewab, 2014. "Tenure insecurity, climate variability, and renting-out decisions among female small-holder farmers in Ethiopia," WIDER Working Paper Series 140, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Cohen, Marc J. & Lemma, Mamusha, 2011. "Agricultural extension services and gender equality: An institutional analysis of four districts in Ethiopia," ESSP working papers 28, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Wisdom Akpalu & Mintewab Bezabih, 2015. "Tenure Insecurity, Climate Variability and Renting out Decisions among Female Small-Holder Farmers in Ethiopia," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 7(6), pages 1-16, June.
    11. Takada, Jun & Shuto, Hisato, 2023. "Causal linkages between land reform and factor demand under tenure insecurity: Evidence from Amhara Region, Ethiopia," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    12. Olana Wayessa, Gutu, 2022. "Environmental (in)justices of land leases in Ethiopia: Premises, promises, and lived realities," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 28(C).
    13. Abeygunawardane, Dilini & Kronenburg García, Angela & Sun, Zhanli & Müller, Daniel & Sitoe, Almeida & Meyfroidt, Patrick, 2022. "Resource frontiers and agglomeration economies: The varied logics of transnational land-based investing in Southern and Eastern Africa," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 51(6), pages 1535-1551.
    14. Mintewab Bezabih & Stein Holden & Andrea Mannberg, 2016. "The Role of Land Certification in Reducing Gaps in Productivity between Male- and Female-Owned Farms in Rural Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(3), pages 360-376, March.
    15. Holden, Stein T. & Tilahun, Mesfin, 2020. "Farm size and gender distribution of land: Evidence from Ethiopian land registry data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    16. Detlef Müller-Mahn & Million Gebreyes, 2019. "Controversial Connections: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia," Land, MDPI, vol. 8(9), pages 1-20, September.
    17. Teshome Beyene Leta & Arega Bazezew Berlie & Mehrete Belay Ferede, 2021. "Effects of the current land tenure on augmenting household farmland access in South East Ethiopia," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 8(1), pages 1-11, December.
    18. Genet Alem, 2021. "Urban Plans and Conflicting Interests in Sustainable Cross-Boundary Land Governance, the Case of National Urban and Regional Plans in Ethiopia," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(6), pages 1-23, March.
    19. Hengzhou Xu & Yihang Zhao & Ronghui Tan & Hongchun Yin, 2017. "Does the Policy of Rural Land Rights Confirmation Promote the Transfer of Farmland in China?," Acta Oeconomica, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 67(4), pages 643-672, December.
    20. Wisdom Akpalu & Mintewab Bezabih, 2014. "Tenure Insecurity, Climate Variability, and Renting-Out Decisions Among Female Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2014-140, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item


    Time allocation; Agricultural Investment; Land Administration; Property Rights; Ethiopia.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2018:i:131:p:137-179. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Secretariat General or Laurent Linnemer (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.