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Is Land Titling in Sub-Saharan Africa Cost-Effective? Evidence from Madagascar


Paper (289 kb PDF)

Sponsors: Thematic Group on Poverty Impact Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation; Thematic Group on Land Policy and Administration

Tuesday, February 6, 2006
12:30 - 2:00pm
Room MC4-W150

Presenter: Hanan Jacoby, DECRG

Land rights formalization has been promoted as a way to encourage agricultural investment and stimulate land markets, yet little is known about the benefits of such policies in sub-Saharan Africa, where pre-conditions for success are less favorable. Using a large sample of plots from an intensively titled rice-growing area of Madagascar, we compare land-specific investments, land productivity, and land values between titled and untitled plots cultivated by the same household. We find no significant effect of having a title on plot-specific investment and correspondingly small impacts on land productivity and land values. These results are consistent with simulation evidence from a theoretical model of investment under expropriation risk. A cost-benefit analysis based on our findings suggests that formal titling should not be extended in rural Madagascar.

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