The effect of land scarcity on farm structure: Empirical evidence from mali

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Abstract

The article examines the effect of land scarcity on farm structure in Mali. In Burkina Faso, Gambia, Senegal, and Mali, for example, extended households managing collective farms remain a characteristic feature of the rural landscape, even though a trend toward granting individual plots of land to family members has been observed during the last decades. If certain activities are subject to scale economies while others are not, it seems natural for farmers to undertake the former on collective fields while retaining private plots for the latter. Risk aversion and output uncertainty provide another justification for collective farming. If natural contingencies strike randomly across members, pooling of land and labor may provide an insurance strategy. In the advantageous position is the landlord or estate owner who enjoys a local monopoly power over land. In Mali, it is not clear that the rising importance of mixed farm structures is accompanied by technological change, credit market development, or an increased access to insurance opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-238
Number of pages44
JournalEconomic Development and Cultural Change
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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