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Unequal Property Rights: A study of land right inequalities in Rwanda

  • Isaksson, Ann-Sofie


    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

The aim of the present paper is to examine the existence and patterns of systematic within-country inequalities in effective land rights in Rwanda. The results of empirical estimations drawing on data on the land tenure arrangements of over 5,000 Rwandan households indeed suggest systematic within-country inequalities in land rights, with households headed by women or young individuals, households that have been displaced due to conflict, and households in the Imidugudu village settlements reporting significantly weaker rights than their respective comparison groups. The observed inequalities are not only the result of variation in tenure arrangements, but also exist when comparing households cultivating plots under similar land tenure regimes. Finding within-country inequalities in effective property rights highlights the need to – unlike much of the quantitative literature in the field – carefully evaluate how property rights apply to different segments of a country’s population. For Rwanda, which is in the process of implementing an extensive land reform, this is especially relevant.

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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 507.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 15 Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0507
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
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  1. 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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  3. Deininger, Klaus & Goyal, Aparajita & Nagarajan, Hari, 2010. "Inheritance law reform and women's access to capital : evidence from India's Hindu succession act," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5338, The World Bank.
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  7. Yanagizawa, David, 2006. "Malthus in Rwanda? Scarcity, Survival and Causes of the Genocide," Working Papers in Economics 201, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 31 Aug 2006.
  8. Isaksson, Ann-Sofie, 2008. "Social divisions and institutions: Assessing institutional parameter variation," Working Papers in Economics 282, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 01 Aug 2008.
  9. Rodrik, Dani & Subramanian, Arvind & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 3643, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Isaksson, Ann-Sofie, 2011. "Manipulating the rural landscape: Villagisation and income generation in Rwanda," Working Papers in Economics 510, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  13. Stefan Dercon & Daniel Ayalew, 2007. "Land Rights, Power and Trees in Rural Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2007-07, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  14. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
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  19. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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