Transformation of the family farm under rising land pressure: A theoretical essay

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Abstract

If we understand well the individualization of land tenure rules under conditions of growing land scarcity and increased market integration, much less is known about the mode of evolution of the family farms possessing the land. Inspired by first-hand evidence from West Africa, this paper argues that these units undergo a similar process of individualization governed by the same forces as property rights in land. It provides a simple theoretical account of the coexistence of different forms of family when farms are heterogenous in land endowments and technology is stagnant. In particular, it throws light on the factors determining the coexistence of collective fields and individual plots inside the family farm, and on those driving the possible splitting of the family. The paper also offers analytical insights into the sequence following which such forms succeed each other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-137
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Comparative Economics
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Agriculture
  • Family
  • Land

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