Securing land rights under rapid population growth: The feasibility of institutional land rights protection in Africa

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Abstract

The paper examines the claim that a virtuous cycle of more secure land rights, more land-saving investments, and denser populations requires the development of institutions that regulate competition over land. We construct a contest model that links the tenure-security-investment relationship to the efforts of land users to enhance land rights themselves and the role of institutional protection. We study the effect of population growth on a close-to-subsistence economy, including the possibility that it weakens institutional protection. We derive sufficient conditions for a positive effect on land investment, but also show that population growth can push the economy into a low-productivity trap.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-350
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
Volume176
Issue number2
Early online date16 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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