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Women's land rights in the transition to individualized ownership

  • Quisumbing, Agnes R.
  • Payongayong, Ellen
  • Aidoo, J. B.
  • Otsuka, Keijiro

This study explores the impact of changes in land tenure institutions on women's land rights and the efficiency of tree resource management in Western Ghana. We find that customary land tenure institutions have evolved toward individualized systems to provide incentives to invest in tree planting. However, contrary to the common belief that individualization of land tenure weakens women's land rights, these have been strengthened through inter vivos gifts and the practice of the Intestate Succession Law. Investment in tree planting, in turn, is affected not simply by the level of land tenure security, but also by its expected changes, as tree planting strengthens land tenure security. Cocoa yields are lower on allocated family land and rented land under share tenancy due to distorted work incentives. While men and women are equally likely to plant trees, women obtain lower yields on their cocoa plots, suggesting the presence of gender-specific constraints.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series FCND discussion papers with number 58.

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Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:58
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  1. Lastarria-Cornhiel, Susana, 1997. "Impact of privatization on gender and property rights in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1317-1333, August.
  2. Anderson, Terry L & Hill, Peter J, 1990. "The Race for Property Rights," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 177-97, April.
  3. Otsuka, Keijiro & Suyanto, S. & Tomich, Thomas P., 1997. "Does land tenure insecurity discourage tree planting?: evolution of customary land tenure and agroforestry management in Sumatra," EPTD discussion papers 31, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Alchian, Armen A. & Demsetz, Harold, 1973. "The Property Right Paradigm," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 16-27, March.
  5. Ault, David E & Rutman, Gilbert L, 1979. "The Development of Individual Rights to Property in Tribal Africa," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 163-82, April.
  6. Feder, Gershon & Noronha, Raymond, 1987. "Land Rights Systems and Agricultural Development in Sub-Saharan Afric a," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 2(2), pages 143-69, July.
  7. Honore, Bo E, 1992. "Trimmed LAD and Least Squares Estimation of Truncated and Censored Regression Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 533-65, May.
  8. Brasselle, Anne-Sophie & Gaspart, Frederic & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2002. "Land tenure security and investment incentives: puzzling evidence from Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-418, April.
  9. Lopez, Ramon, 1997. "Environmental externalities in traditional agriculture and the impact of trade liberalization: the case of Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 17-39, June.
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