Status and Incentives
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.
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