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Smallholder land ownership in Kenya: distribution between households and through time

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  • William J. Burke
  • T. S. Jayne

Abstract

This study uses panel data to demonstrate two dimensions of land ownership: the distribution between households at a given time and changes within a household over time. We note that recognizing the latter dimension is only possible when analyzing rare long-term panel data. We estimate a model for land ownership using a version of the correlated random effects estimator to uniquely identify the determinants of both dimensions amongst Kenyan smallholders. We find life cycle effects are a key determinant of both distributions, and identify important ways in which initial conditions such as inheritance and off-farm income relate to the dynamics of ownership. We find that population density is a key determinant of differences between households, but also that a given household's land ownership is not affected in the short term as population density increases around them. Controlling for population density, households own more land when they are closer to road networks where the economic value of land is higher. We find important vulnerabilities for the land security of widows, but this vulnerability is geographically heterogeneous.

Suggested Citation

  • William J. Burke & T. S. Jayne, 2014. "Smallholder land ownership in Kenya: distribution between households and through time," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(2), pages 185-198, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:45:y:2014:i:2:p:185-198
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/agec.12040
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jayne, T. S. & Yamano, Takashi & Weber, Michael T. & Tschirley, David & Benfica, Rui & Chapoto, Antony & Zulu, Ballard, 2003. "Smallholder income and land distribution in Africa: implications for poverty reduction strategies," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 253-275, June.
    2. Jan Willem Gunning & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey & Trudy Owens, 2000. "Revisiting forever gained: Income dynamics in the resettlement areas of Zimbabwe, 1983-96," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 131-154.
    3. Frank Place & S. E. Migot-Adholla, 1998. "The Economic Effects of Land Registration on Smallholder Farms in Kenya: Evidence from Nyeri and Kakamega Districts," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 74(3), pages 360-373.
    4. Ngaido, Tidiane, 2004. "Reforming land rights in Africa," 2020 vision briefs 15, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
    6. Nigar Nargis & Mahabub Hossain, 2006. "Income dynamics and pathways out of rural poverty in Bangladesh, 1988–2004," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 35(s3), pages 425-435, November.
    7. Aliber, Michael & Walker, Cherryl, 2006. "The impact of HIV/AIDS on land rights: Perspectives from Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 704-727, April.
    8. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
    9. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
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