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Impact of land administration programs on agricultural productivity and rural development: existing evidence, challenges and new approaches


  • GIGNOUX, Jeremie
  • MACOURS, Karen
  • WREN-LEWIS, Liam


Investment in land administration projects is often considered key for agricultural productivity and rural development in developing countries. But the evidence on the effect of such interventions is remarkably mixed. This article reviews the literature and discusses a number of challenges related to the analysis of the impacts of land administration programs, focusing on developing countries where the starting position is one of land administration systems based on the Napoleonic code, with existing individual rights that may be imperfect and insecure. We examine a set of conceptual and methodological challenges including: 1. a conceptual challenge related to the need to unbundle property rights and to establish the plausible causal chain for land administration interventions; 2. the existence of other binding constraints on productivity, implying the need to consider heterogeneities in policy impacts and the complementarity between property rights and other productive interventions; 3. the need to account for spillover effects of land interventions on non-targeted households; and 4. methodological challenges related to the causal identification of the impacts of such interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • GIGNOUX, Jeremie & MACOURS, Karen & WREN-LEWIS, Liam, . "Impact of land administration programs on agricultural productivity and rural development: existing evidence, challenges and new approaches," Review of Agricultural and Environmental Studies - Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement (RAEStud), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), vol. 0(Issue 3).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:frraes:276808

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    Community/Rural/Urban Development; Land Economics/Use;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment


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