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Land Management on First Nations Reserves: Lawful Possession and its Determinants

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Much debate concerning property rights reserves in Canada focuses on socio-economic impacts and the potential for individualized land tenure to support economic development, thereby reducing poverty. Study of existing forms of individual property on reserves is needed to inform these debates. In this article, we examine data on the lawful possession (Certificate of Possession) system that is currently used on reserves across Canada. We provide descriptive statistics regarding the variability of lawful possessions across First Nations and using regression analysis we assess which socio-economic, demographic, and locational variables influence the use of lawful possessions instead of communal land or other customary land holding systems. We show that use of the lawful possession system is surprisingly low and very uneven. As well, our regression results suggests that using the system requires a relatively educated community with low levels of poverty, with a favourable geographic location. Overall, the results are consistent with the view that lawful possessions are not primarily used to foster economic development.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp13-04.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp13-04
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Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada

Phone: (778)782-3508
Fax: (778)782-5944
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  1. Bruce, John W., 1998. "Review Of Tenure Terminology," Tenure Briefs 12814, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Land Tenure Center.
  2. Anderson, Terry L. & Parker, Dominic P., 2009. "Economic development lessons from and for North American Indian economies," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 53(1), March.
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