Insecure Land Rights and Share Tenancy: Evidence from Madagascar

Marc F. Bellemare

Abstract

Most studies of tenurial insecurity focus on its effects on investment. This paper studies the hitherto unexplored relationship between tenurial insecurity and land tenancy contracts. Based on distinct features of formal law and customary rights in Madagascar, this paper augments the canonical model of sharecropping by making the strength of the landlord’s property right increasing in the amount of risk she bears within the contract. Using data on landlords’ subjective perceptions in rural Madagascar, empirical tests support the hypothesis that insecure property rights drive contract choice but offer little support in favor of the canonical risk sharing hypothesis. (JEL K11, Q15)

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