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

  • Markus Goldstein

    (The World Bank)

  • Christopher Udry

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

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    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 correspond 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. We interpret these results in the context of a simple model of the political allocation of land rights in local matrilineages.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp929.pdf
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    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 929.

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    Length: 47 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:929
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    1. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
    7. 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.
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2003. "Unbundling Institutions," NBER Working Papers 9934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. Bromley, Daniel W., 1989. "Property relations and economic development: The other land reform," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 867-877, June.
    11. 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.
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