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The Effect of Land Scarcity on Farm Structure: Empirical Evidence from Mali

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  • Catherine Guirkinger

    () (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)

  • Jean-Philippe Platteau

    () (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)

Abstract

We analyze the individualization of farm units in Mali in the sense of a transformation of purely collective farms into mixed units in which private plots coexist with collective fields. While a moral-hazard-in-team problem plagues production on the latter, a dilemma arises insofar as the household head extracts his income form it. The head thus faces a trade-off between efficiency and capture. We show, within the framework of a patriarchal farm household model, that the choice is tilted toward private plot as land becomes more scarce. On the basis of first hand data collected in Southern Mali, we test and confirm the above prediction. Moreover, the relationship between land scarcity and the presence of individual plots holds only when there are at least one married couple (besides the head) within the household. The explanation we put forward is that the presence or suspicion of labour-shirking on the collective field arise only when there are interferences by in-laws and differences in the size of conjugal units.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Guirkinger & Jean-Philippe Platteau, 2011. "The Effect of Land Scarcity on Farm Structure: Empirical Evidence from Mali," Working Papers 1109, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nam:wpaper:1109
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1985. "A Theory of Contractual Structure in Agriculture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 352-367, June.
    2. Jean-Marie Baland & Jean-Philippe Platteau, 1998. "Division of the Commons: A Partial Assessment of the New Institutional Economics of Land Rights," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 644-650.
    3. World Bank, 2008. "World Development Report 2007 Development and the Next Generation," Working Papers id:1755, eSocialSciences.
    4. Swain,Nigel, 1985. "Collective Farms which Work?," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521268530, May.
    5. von Braun, Joachim & Webb, Patrick J R, 1989. "The Impact of New Crop Technology on the Agricultural Division of Labor in a West African Setting," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(3), pages 513-534, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guirkinger, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe & Goetghebuer, Tatiana, 2015. "Productive inefficiency in extended agricultural households: Evidence from Mali," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 17-27.
    2. repec:eee:agisys:v:159:y:2018:i:c:p:126-138 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Guirkinger, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2015. "Transformation of the family farm under rising land pressure: A theoretical essay," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 112-137.
    4. Kazianga, Harounan & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2017. "Intra-household resource allocation and familial ties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 109-132.
    5. Goetghebuer, Tatiana, 2011. "Productive inefficiency in patriarchal family farms: evidence from Mali," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 34, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    6. Elodie Blanc & Aurelia Lepine & Eric Strobl, 2014. "Determinants of crop yield and profit of family farms: Evidence from the Senegal River Valley," Working Papers 2014-596, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    7. Bardhan, Pranab & Luca, Michael & Mookherjee, Dilip & Pino, Francisco, 2014. "Evolution of land distribution in West Bengal 1967–2004: Role of land reform and demographic changes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 171-190.
    8. Deininger, Klaus & Savastano, Sara & Xia, Fang, 2017. "Smallholders’ land access in Sub-Saharan Africa: A new landscape?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 78-92.
    9. Lambrecht, Isabel Brigitte, 2016. "“As a Husband I Will Love, Lead, and Provide.” Gendered Access to Land in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 188-200.
    10. Smale, Melinda & Kergna, Alpha O. & Theriault, Veronique & Assima, Amidou & Keita, Naman, 2016. "Gender, generation and cereal crop intensification in Mali," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235544, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Ouedraogo, Aissatou, 2015. "Family Structure and Intrahousehold Resource Allocation: Evidence from Mali," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205772, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    12. Theriault, Veronique & Smale, Melinda & Haider, Hamza, 2017. "How Does Gender Affect Sustainable Intensification of Cereal Production in the West African Sahel? Evidence from Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 177-191.
    13. Smale, Melinda & Haider, Hamza & Theriault, Veronique, 2016. "Intensification and Intra-Household Decisions: Fertilizer Adoption on Collective and Individual Fields in Burkina Faso," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235542, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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