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The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana

  • Markus Goldstein
  • Christopher Udry

We examine the impact of ambiguous and contested land rights on investment and productivity in agriculture in Akwapim, Ghana. We show that individuals who hold powerful positions in a local political hierarchy have more secure tenure rights and that as a consequence they invest more in land fertility and have substantially higher output. The intensity of investments on different plots cultivated by a given individual corresponds to that individual's security of tenure over those specific plots and, in turn, to the individual's position in the political hierarchy relevant to those specific plots. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 116 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 981-1022

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:116:y:2008:i:6:p:981-1022
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  1. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2000. "Learning About a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," Working Papers 817, Economic Growth Center, Yale University, revised May 2004.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2003. "Unbundling Institutions," NBER Working Papers 9934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2003. "Institutional and Non-Institutional Explanations of Economic Differences," NBER Working Papers 9989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  6. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  7. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  9. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-37, October.
  10. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Paul J. Gertler & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2002. "Empowerment and Efficiency: Tenancy Reform in West Bengal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 239-280, April.
  11. Bromley, Daniel W., 1989. "Property relations and economic development: The other land reform," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 867-877, June.
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