IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Research on land markets in South Asia : what have we learned?


  • Faruqee, Rashid
  • Carey, Kevin


The authors review the literature on land markets in South Asia to clarify what's known and to highlight unresolved issues. They report that: (1) We have a good understanding of why sharecropping persists and why it can be superior to other standard agricultural contracts. We have less understanding of what determines the relative efficiency of sharecropping in different environments and why other apparently superior contractual relationships are rare. (2) Insecure rights to land adversely affect production and investment incentives in areas outside of South Asia, but in South Asia strong evidence linking investment and rights to production is scarce. (3) An inverse relationship between farm size and output per unit area is a recurrent feature in data from South Asia, apparently related to land-labor interactions. (4) Although small farms seem to be more efficient than large ones, small farmers have trouble raising their profitability and enlarging their holding, largely because of credit constraints, but also because of poverty and policy that discriminates against them. (5) Misguided land reform in the past has made tenancy unattractive to landowners, so large capital-intensive farms have developed. Political economic analysis is needed to explain the failure of past land reform, as well as distortions in agricultural input and output markets in (6) South Asia. Land fragmentation (as distinguished from farm size) has caused productivity losses. Those losses have not been quantified and the reasons fragmentation persists are poorly understood. (7) Transaction costs are a significant impediment to functioning land markets. In South Asia, transfers of land rights are complicated by lack of explicit title to land, and by informal and customary rights. (8) One pressing research problem is gender discrimination, an important factor in land market imperfections -especially (within the household) the separation of land management and its control. Research needs include more systematic regional comparisons, the use of more panel data, and an investigation of how agricultural productivity is affected by gender problems and land fragmentation.

Suggested Citation

  • Faruqee, Rashid & Carey, Kevin, 1997. "Research on land markets in South Asia : what have we learned?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1754, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1754

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Shaban, Radwan Ali, 1987. "Testing between Competing Models of Sharecropping," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 893-920, October.
    3. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1995. "Can unobserved land quality explain the inverse productivity relationship?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 51-84, February.
    4. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Mohamed Salah Matoussi, 1995. "Moral Hazard, Financial Constraints and Sharecropping in El Oulja," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 381-399.
    5. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and Household Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1415-1434, November.
    6. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1995. "Power, distortions, revolt and reform in agricultural land relations," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 42, pages 2659-2772 Elsevier.
    7. Bell, Clive & Srinivasan, T N, 1989. "Interlinked Transactions in Rural Markets: An Empirical Study of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 51(1), pages 73-83, February.
    8. Clive Bell & Chalongphob Sussangkarn, 1988. "Rationing and Adjustment in the Market for Tenancies: The Behavior of Landowning Households in Thanjavur District," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 70(4), pages 779-789.
    9. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1992. "Rural Reforms and Agricultural Growth in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 34-51, March.
    10. Shetty, Sudhir, 1988. "Limited liability, wealth differences and tenancy contracts in agrarian economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-22, July.
    11. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
    12. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1986. "The new development economics," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 257-265, February.
    13. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Deininger, Klaus W. & Mpuga, Paul, 2003. "Land Markets In Uganda: Incidence, Impact And Evolution Over Time," 2003 Annual Meeting, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa 25809, International Association of Agricultural Economists.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1754. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.