GRIPS 政策研究センター Policy Research Center


2015/4/1 ~ 2016/3/31

Property Rights and Effort: Household Experiments in East Africa


This is an exploratory project. The goal is to conduct an experiment amongst husbands and wives which examines the hypothesis that spouses work harder when they hold stronger rights to the fruit of their labours.


The background is as follows: Although most African states have acknowledged the significant role played by women in Agricultural sector, few have paid much attention to the land tenure systems which have been discriminating against women (Meena, 1992). In recent years, land tenure reforms that emphasize joint ownership of land for husband and wives have been implemented in few developing countries including Ethiopia. The question is whether the assignment of rights to men or to joint have an effect on behaviour within the household. There is vast literature that explores the impact of formal land rights on investment, agricultural productivity and women’s bargaining power (Allendorf, 2007; Newman et al., in press). But a lack of control means that tests are often inconclusive. We intend to approach the issue in a new way, using real-work experiments (e.g. as in Munro et al, 2013). It is worth stressing that the actual experiment will not involve farming, but will use a real production task.


The scale of the experiment will be small: the idea is to use it as a proof of concept. If the project is a success, then we would submit a larger bid for funding to an external research body.


Allendorf, K. .2007, Do women’s land rights promote empowerment and child health in Nepal? World Development 35(11): 1975-88.

Holden, S., Bezu, S., 2013. Joint land certification and intra-household decision-making: Towards empowerment of wives? Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Meena, R, 1992. Women and sustainable development.

Munro, A, Verschoor A, A. Dubey, 2013Does working with spouses make teams more productive? A field experiment in India using NREGA, Economics Letters,

Newman, C., Tarp, F. and van den Broeck, K. (in press). Property rights and productivity: The case of joint land titling in Vietnam. Land Economics