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Trees, tenure and conflict: Rubber in colonial Benin

  • Fenske, James

Tree crops have changed land tenure in Africa. Planters have acquired more permanent, alienable rights, but have also faced disputes with competing claimants and the state. I show that the introduction of Para rubber had similar effects in the Benin region of colonial Nigeria. Planters initially obtained land by traditional methods. Mature plantations were assets that could be sold, let out, and used to raise credit. Disputes over rubber involved smallholders, communities of rival users, would-be migrant planters, commercial plantations, and the colonial state, which feared rubber would make land unavailable for food crops.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 26244.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26244
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  1. Ewout Frankema & Marlous van Waijenburg, 2011. "African Real Wages in Asian Perspective, 1880-1940," Working Papers 0002, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  2. James Fenske, 2012. ""Rubber will not keep in this country": Failed Development in Benin, 1897-1921," Economics Series Working Papers Number 108, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Frankema, Ewout & Waijenburg, Marlous Van, 2012. "Structural Impediments to African Growth? New Evidence from Real Wages in British Africa, 1880–1965," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(04), pages 895-926, December.
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  6. Andre, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-47, January.
  7. Quisumbing, Agnes R, et al, 2001. "Women's Land Rights in the Transition to Individualized Ownership: Implications for Tree-Resource Management in Western Ghana," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 157-81, October.
  8. Hans-Ulrich Derlien & B. Guy Peters, 2008. "Introduction," Chapters, in: The State at Work, Volume 2, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  9. repec:ags:afjare:141665 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  11. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
  12. Libecap, Gary D., 2007. "The Assignment of Property Rights on the Western Frontier: Lessons for Contemporary Environmental and Resource Policy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(02), pages 257-291, June.
  13. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2008. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 981-1022, December.
  14. N. Lesca, 2010. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00640602, HAL.
  15. James Fenske, 2012. "The Battle for Rubber in Benin," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _107, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  16. 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.
  17. Erica Field, 2007. "Entitled to Work: Urban Property Rights and Labor Supply in Peru," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1561-1602.
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