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A theory of sharecropping: the role of price behavior and imperfect competition

Sen, Debapriya (2009): A theory of sharecropping: the role of price behavior and imperfect competition.

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Abstract

This paper proposes a theory of sharecropping on the basis of price behavior in agriculture and imperfectly competitive nature of rural product markets. We consider a contractual setting between one landlord and one tenant with seasonal variation of price, where the tenant receives a low price for his output while the landlord can sell his output at a higher price, and show the superiority of sharecropping over fixed rental contracts. Then we consider more general interlinked contracts to show that there are multiple optimal interlinked contracts. Finally, proposing an equilibrium refinement that incorporates imperfect competition in the rural product market, it is shown that the unique contract that is robust to this refinement results in sharecropping.

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