Communal land and agricultural productivity

Charles Gottlieb, Jan Grobovsek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Communal land tenure is prevalent across many developing countries. It implements a “use it or lose it” principle that allows owners to farm their land but restricts their right to transfer it away. This paper measures the distortionary impact of communal land in a dynamic general equilibrium model of occupational selection, calibrated to Ethiopia. We find that lifting communal land tenure increases GDP by 9% and lowers agricultural employment by 18 percentage points. While agricultural productivity increases, that of non-agriculture drops. Communal land tenure rationalizes about one-half of the relative agricultural productivity gap in the poorest economies. Its impact on aggregate productivity, though, is comparatively minor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-152
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Early online date5 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • agricultural productivity
  • growth and development
  • misallocation
  • land
  • Africa
  • Ethiopia


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