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

Author

Listed:
  • Markus Goldstein

    (The World Bank)

  • Christopher Udry

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2005. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Working Papers 929, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:929
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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp929.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
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    6. Erica Field, 2007. "Entitled to Work: Urban Property Rights and Labor Supply in Peru," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1561-1602.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Land tenure; Investment; Institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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