Skills, Partnerships and Tenancy in Sri Lankan Rice Farms
This paper examines whether sharecroppers and fixed-rent tenants in the rice farms of South Asia are distinguished by their farming skills. The idea that fixed-rent contracts are typically given to relatively skilled tenants dates back to the agricultural (tenancy) ladder hypothesis of Spillman . The screening models [e.g. Hallagan 1978] that have attempted to formalize this idea assume that landlords do not observe the tenants' skill levels. The second part of the paper empirically explores this result with household-level data from Sri Lanka. A two-stage model that distinguishes the choice of contract from the extent of land leased is used. The results clearly show that relatively skilled farmers are more likely to become fixed-rent tenants.
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