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The Productivity Impacts of Formal and Informal Land Rights: Evidence from Madagascar

Bellemare, Marc F. (2012): The Productivity Impacts of Formal and Informal Land Rights: Evidence from Madagascar. Forthcoming in: Land Economics

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Abstract

This paper studies the relationship between land rights and agricultural productivity. Whereas previous studies used proxies for soil quality and instrumental variables to control for the endogeneity of land titles, the data used here include precise soil quality measurements, which in principle allow controlling for the unobserved heterogeneity between plots. Empirical results suggest that formal land rights (i.e., land titles) have no impact on productivity, but that informal land rights (i.e., landowners’ subjective perceptions of what they can and cannot do with their plots) have heterogeneous impacts on productivity.

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