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Staff Paper No. 391 - Abstract

Indigenous Land Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: Appropriation, Security and Investment Demand

Espen Sjaastad
Daniewl W. Bromley [dwbromley@wisc.edu]

Staff Paper No. 391, March 1996, 35p.


This paper discusses the links between rights appropriation, tenure security, and investment demand among farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Common assertions of the property rights school regarding indigenous tenure are: (1) insecurity of tenure will lead to suboptimal investment incentives, and; (2) appropriation of land rights in the public domain will be rent-dissipating. It is argued that land use and investment decisions among African farmers often have a dual motive; one of productivity and one of rights appropriation. The two claims of the property rights school may thus seem contradictory. With the aid of a conceptual model, it is argued that indigenous tenure on the one hand may provide equal or higher investment incentives than private land rights, and on the other hand promote modes of rights appropriation which are productive rather than wasteful.
Last updated on Thu, Jun 2, 2005 11:43am