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Land inheritance rules: theory and cross-cultural analysis

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  • Baker, Matthew
  • Miceli, Thomas J.

Abstract

This paper develops a general theory of land inheritance rules. We distinguish between two classes of rules: those that allow a testator discretion in disposing of his land (like a best-qualified rule), and those that constrain his choice (like primogeniture). The primary benefit of the latter is to prevent rent seeking by heirs, but the cost is that testators cannot make use of information about the relative abilities of his heirs to manage the land. We also account for the impact of scale economies in land use. We conclude by offering some empirical tests of the model using a cross-cultural sample of societies.
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  • Baker, Matthew & Miceli, Thomas J., 2005. "Land inheritance rules: theory and cross-cultural analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 77-102, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:56:y:2005:i:1:p:77-102
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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, January.
    2. William L. Miller, 1980. "Primogeniture, Entails, and Endowments in English Classical Economics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 558-581, Winter.
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    10. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-979, December.
    11. Anderson, C. Leigh & Swimmer, Eugene, 1997. "Some empirical evidence on property rights of first peoples," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-22, May.
    12. Smetters, Kent, 1999. "Ricardian equivalence: long-run Leviathan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 395-421, September.
    13. Alston, Lee J & Libecap, Gary D & Schneider, Robert, 1996. "The Determinants and Impact of Property Rights: Land Titles on the Brazilian Frontier," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 25-61, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rodrigo J. Raad & Gilvan R. Guedes, 2014. "Bequest choices under uncertainty," Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG 504, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
    2. Robert Yarbrough, 2005. "Teaching Bioeconomics," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 1-38, January.
    3. James Fenske, 2010. "L’Étranger: Status, Property Rights, and Investment Incentives in Côte d’Ivoire," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(4), pages 621-644.
    4. Baker, Matthew & Bulte, Erwin & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2010. "The origins of governments: from anarchy to hierarchy," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(02), pages 215-242, June.
    5. Ali,Daniel Ayalew & Deininger,Klaus W. & Ronchi,Loraine, 2015. "Costs and benefits of land fragmentation : evidence from Rwanda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7290, The World Bank.
    6. Matthew J. Baker, 2005. "Technological Progress, Population Growth, Property Rights, and the Transition to Agriculture," Departmental Working Papers 9, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    7. Klaus Deininger & Daniel Monchuk & Hari K Nagarajan & Sudhir K Singh, 2017. "Does Land Fragmentation Increase the Cost of Cultivation? Evidence from India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(1), pages 82-98, January.
    8. Robert Fleck & F. Hanssen, 2009. "“Rulers ruled by women”: an economic analysis of the rise and fall of women’s rights in ancient Sparta," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 221-245, July.
    9. Basu, Sudipta & Kirk, Marcus & Waymire, Greg, 2009. "Memory, transaction records, and The Wealth of Nations," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 895-917, November.
    10. Matthew J. Baker & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2007. "A Human Capital-Based Theory of Postmarital Residence Rules," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(1), pages 208-241, April.
    11. Matthew J. Baker, 2004. "Human Capital and Hold-ups in Indigenous Society: The Role of Customs and the Market," Departmental Working Papers 7, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    12. Goetghebuer, Tatiana & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2010. "Inheritance patterns in migration-prone communities of the Peruvian Highlands," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 71-87, September.
    13. Matthew Baker, 2008. "A structural model of the transition to agriculture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 257-292, December.
    14. Nadege Miclanche Azebaze & Thomas Falk & Evelyn Korn, 2014. "Land allocation in subsistence economies and intra-familial time-use decisions," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201451, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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