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Status and Incentives


  • Jon Reiersen


By exploring problems of risk, asymmetric information and missing markets, development microeconomics have made progress in explaining the underlying rationale and consequences of different contractual arrangements often observed in poor agrarian economies. But the recent theoretical literature has left little room for influences arising from cultural values and norms. By recognizing that individual behavior is socially embedded it is possible to reach a fuller understanding of agrarian organization in the Third World. This point is illustrated by using the land-lease market in Bangladesh as an example. By incorporating a quest for status into a model of sharecropping I seek to explain the well documented fact that landless farm-workers are almost excluded from the land lease market in Bangladesh.

Suggested Citation

  • Jon Reiersen, 2004. "Status and Incentives," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 30, pages 121-128.
  • Handle: RePEc:noj:journl:v:30:y:2004:p:121-128

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Taslim, M A & Ahmed, F U, 1992. "An Analysis of Land Leasing in Bangladesh Agriculture," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(3), pages 615-628, April.
    2. M. A. Taslim, 1989. "Allocative Efficiency of Cropshare Cultivation: Interpreting the Empirical Evidence," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 233-250.
    3. Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles & Melissa Osborne, 2001. "Incentive-Enhancing Preferences: Personality, Behavior, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 155-158, May.
    4. Singh, I., 1988. "Tenancy In South Asia," World Bank - Discussion Papers 32, World Bank.
    5. Weiss, Yoram & Fershtman, Chaim, 1998. "Social status and economic performance:: A survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 801-820, May.
    6. Cole, Harold L. & Mailath, George J. & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1998. "Class systems and the enforcement of social norms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 5-35, October.
    7. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1999. "Social Organization in an Endogenous Growth Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(3), pages 711-725, August.
    8. Hanming Fang, 2001. "Social Culture and Economic Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 924-937, September.
    9. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
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    More about this item


    social status; incentives; sharecropping;

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • 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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