Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
10-08: Using New Data & Platforms for Land Policy Research
Thursday, 23/Mar/2017:
10:30am - 12:00pm

Session Chair: Innocent Matshe, African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Kenya
Location: MC C2-131

ID: 1066 / 10-08: 1
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Academic research on land governance / rigorous impact evaluations
Keywords: industrial policy; FDI; concessions; geo-referenced data; nighttime light

Government Policy and Natural Resource Sector FDI: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Liberia

Bradley Parks1, Jonas Bunte2, Daniel Runfola1, Harsh Desai3, Kanio Gbala4

1The College of William and Mary; 2UT-Dallas; 3London School of Economics and Political Science; 4TrustAfrica

Governments have used a variety of policies to increase the impact of foreign investment on economic growth. One policy is becoming increasingly popular: instead of providing public goods themselves, host governments require foreign investors to provide public goods as part of concession agreements. This strategy intends to crowd in additional investments and create clusters of interconnected firms. Liberia represents an ideal empirical setting to test the effectiveness of this strategy. We construct a new dataset that measures the precise locations of 557 natural resource concessions. We then merge these data with a measure of nighttime lights at the 1km x 1km grid cell level. Using a difference-in-difference strategy, we find that growth near concession areas is significantly higher than in matched locations faraway from concessions. Differences across sectors (mining versus agriculture) and investor nationalities (U.S. versus Chinese) are consistent with the expected effects of the government's spatial development corridor strategy.


ID: 982 / 10-08: 2
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Harnessing geospatial data, cloud platforms and other data technologies

Monitoring of Agricultural Land Conversion with Copernicus Sentinel Sensors: Case Study of Gambella State (Ethiopia)

Guido Lemoine, Felix Rembold

European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre, Italy

Agricultural production in Africa needs to expand considerably for food self-sufficiency to keep up with population growth and differentiating dietary needs. Expansion of agricultural cultivation is already ongoing and, in some regions, has led to controversy about the scale, manner and impact of land allotment policies.

The recent introduction of the European Union's Copernicus Sentinel-1 and -2 sensors has added global monitoring capacities in the 10-20 m spatial resolution domain. Sentinel data are available under a "full, free and open" license. Sentinel sensors combine Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR, Sentinel 1) and multispectral (Sentinel-2) observation capacities with a 6 day revisit (Sentinel 1A and 1B) and a 5 day revisit (Sentinel 2A and Sentinel 2B (Q2/2017)), respectively.

We will illustrate the use of Sentinel data for the delineation of large land development in Gambella State (Ethiopia), where we have been able to identify a total of 110,000 hectares of recent developments. We will discuss how we use the Google Earth Engine cloud computing environment to continue the monitoring of Gambella state and expand into other areas where land deals have been identified.


ID: 296 / 10-08: 3
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Securing land rights for equity, sustainability and resilience
Keywords: forest cover mapping, tropical dry and humid forests, Sentinel satellites

Satellite based monitoring of forest resources compliant with REDD+ and Zero Deforestation

Thomas Haeusler, Fabian Enßle, Sharon Gomez

GAF AG, Germany

Natural Forests provide valuable ecosystem services and at the same time, direct and indirect human impacts affect these ecosystems. Especially in tropical countries with a high percentage of remaining natural forests, human induced land use change is one of the main drivers for increasing deforestation rates. The drivers, time scale and impact on forests are quite different between countries, but the necessity of a consistent, trustworthy and accurate monitoring of these resources is relevant to manifold stakeholders such as in the domain of land governance. The application of satellite imagery can greatly facilitate this need. The large area coverage and high spatial resolution of newly launched optical and radar satellite systems offer the opportunity to retrieve forest related information on a wall-to-wall basis. Satellite data based forest monitoring systems can provide evidence of most recent forest area and land cover changes with the capability to map historic events by incorporating archived data sets. Mapping forest extent and changes thereof is a crucial information requirement for managing the commons and customary land, forests and natural resources. The paper presents requirements, challenges and a methodological approach to implement National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS) at country level by incorporating user needs.


ID: 897 / 10-08: 4
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Academic research on land governance / rigorous impact evaluations
Keywords: property rights, experiment, investment, geospatial data

How Land Tenure Systems Affect Foreign Investment: Evidence from Liberia

Alexandra Hartman1, Darin Christensen3, Cyrus Samii2

1UCL, United Kingdom; 2NYU, United States of America; 3UCLA, United States of America

Identifying the causal effects of economic institutions, such as private property rights, is a challenge given concerns about reverse causality and omitted variables. We take advantage of a natural experiment in the West Africa state of Liberia to assess the impact of property rights institutions on changes in land investment (proxied by forest loss) before and after the 2007-8 Global Food Crisis. Liberian law divided the state into two zones, which with a distinct system of property rights. Our difference-in-differences design rests on the parallel-trends assumption — investment would have followed the same trend had there been no difference in land tenure. While untestable, we bolster this assumption by showing that investment in each zone follows parallel trends prior to the Crisis. We show that since the Crisis, land investment increased in the County zone where statutory fee simple property rights govern land transactions. Within 20 kilometers of the boundary cumulative forest loss increased approximately eight percent between 2001-2014. In contrast, investment in land increased more slowly on the other side of the boundary (cumulative forest loss is just over five percent for the same period). To explain this finding, we introduce a model of land investment under varying property rights systems.