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Risk as Impediment to Privatization? The Role of Collective Fields in Extended Agricultural Households


  • Matthieu Delpierre

    () (University of Louvain)

  • 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)


As in the case of agricultural cooperatives, collective fields in extended agricultural households act as an insurance device, by redistributing income between household members. At the same time they entail inefficiencies arising from the incentives to free ride on co-workers efforts. Privatization solves the latter problem but comes at a cost of lower risk-sharing (Carter, 1987). The classic analysis of the trade-off between efficiency and risk-sharing rules out another major risk-sharing mechanism, namely voluntary interpersonal transfers. This paper is a first attempt to merge the two insurance mechanisms: collective production, which is plagued by free riding and income transfers, which are hampered by limited commitment. Privatization of land is shown to interact with incentives to abide by the insurance agreement, so that the tradeoff between risk-sharing and production efficiency may or may not be maintained with income transfers. We show that an increase in the value of the household members’ exit option or a decrease in patience decreases the optimal rate of privatization. With the help of numerical simulations we argue that households of greater size are also more likely to privatize land.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthieu Delpierre & Catherine Guirkinger & Jean-Philippe Platteau, 2012. "Risk as Impediment to Privatization? The Role of Collective Fields in Extended Agricultural Households," Working Papers 1211, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nam:wpaper:1211

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Seki, E. & Platteau, J.P., 1998. "Coordination and Pooling Arrangements in Japanese Coastal Fisheries," Papers 208, Notre-Dame de la Paix, Sciences Economiques et Sociales.
    2. Carter, Michael R, 1987. "Risk Sharing and Incentives in the Decollectivization of Agriculture," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(3), pages 577-595, September.
    3. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-1046, October.
    4. Baland, Jean-Marie & Francois, Patrick, 2005. "Commons as insurance and the welfare impact of privatization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 211-231, February.
    5. Catherine Guirkinger & Jean-Philippe Platteau, 2011. "Transformation of the Family under Rising Land Pressure: A Theoretical Essay," WIDER Working Paper Series 030, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
    7. Subhrendu K. Pattanayak & Erin O. Sills, 2001. "Do Tropical Forests Provide Natural Insurance? The Microeconomics of Non-Timber Forest Product Collection in the Brazilian Amazon," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(4), pages 595-612.
    8. Putterman, Louis & DiGiorgio, Marie, 1985. "Choice and Efficiency in a Model of Democratic Semi-collective Agriculture," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(1), pages 1-21, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jlands:v:7:y:2018:i:1:p:18-:d:128854 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rama Lionel Ngenzebuke, 2017. "The Returns of "I Do": Multifaceted Female Decision-making and Agricultural Yields in Tanzania," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-05, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Gwendoline Promsopha, 2016. "Are free loans of land really free? An exploratory analysis of risk-coping motives in land arrangements in the Northeast of Thailand," Post-Print hal-01401878, HAL.
    4. Gwendoline Promsopha, 2017. "Are free land arrangement really free? An exploration into land arrangements made by rural-urban migrants in the Northeast of Thailand," Working Papers hal-01565843, HAL.
    5. Jean-Marie Baland & Roberta Ziparo, 2017. "Intra-household bargaining in poor countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 108, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item


    risk-sharing; land; family; privatization;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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