Productive inefficiency in extended agricultural households: Evidence from Mali

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In Sub-Saharan African farm households, two types of plot management often coexist: collective fields are farmed jointly by household members under the authority of the head while individual plots are autonomously managed by members. In this paper we explore the productivity differentials between collective and individual plots in the context of extended family farms. We find that land yields are significantly larger on male private plots than on common plots after all appropriate controls have been included. Yet, the disadvantage of common plots exists only for care intensive crops and for cash crops. We provide evidence that the yield differentials stem from labor incentive problems. They may arise from the prevailing reward function and/or from preference heterogeneity over the use of the proceeds from the collective field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • Family structure
  • Labor incentives
  • Land productivity


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