Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
06-02: Closing gaps in research on African large farms
Wednesday, 21/Mar/2018:
10:30am - 12:00pm

Session Chair: Derek Byerlee, Georgetown University, United States of America
Location: MC 13-121


An Integrated Assessment Of The Inverse Size-Productivity Relationship In Malawi

Fang Xia1, Klaus Deininger2, Henry Kankwamba3, Maxwell Mkondiwa4, Daniel Ali2

1University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China, People's Republic of; 2World Bank; 3LUANAR; 4University of Minnesota

To explore if inclusion of large farms that are normally not captured in household-based samples explains the inverse farm-size productivity relationship, we combine production data collected using the same instrument from Malawi’s national household survey (IHS4) and a representative sample of estates. A strong negative relationship between plot-level output value or profits where household labor is valued at shadow prices and cultivated area at household or parcel level (including with household fixed effects) emerges but evaporates if profits are computed using market wages. The fact that corporate estates that face less labor market constraints, show now IR points towards labor market imperfections rather than measurement error or edge effects as a main contributing factor. Higher levels of labor input on smaller plots (including by corporate estates) point towards a potential role of unobserved soil quality and ways to test these are discussed.


Options for formalizing customary tenure and their impact: Evidence from Zambia

Yuanyuan Yi1, Daniel Ali1, Anthony Chapoto2, Klaus Deininmger1

1World Bank, United States of America; 2IAPRI

Ways of formalizing customary tenure that maximize productivity and discourage speculative land acquisition are an important issue for land abundant African countries. Often, the default option, based on colonial traditions and arguments regarding credit access, has been conversion to state land. A simple conceptual model suggests that, with costly information/enforcement by the state and a non-zero probability of investments failing (or speculative land acquisition), ‘informal’ arrangements may be preferable is a range of situations. IV regressions using a survey data from 1,250 emergent farmers in Zambia support this by suggesting that (i) full formal title is needed for long-term investment in high value crops; (ii) informal documents by chiefs increase output and profits from crop production (by some 20%); and (iii) formalization increases the likelihood of speculative land holding especially by outsiders. Policy implications for case where issuance of state title and monitoring are costly are drawn out.


Land productivity and plot size: Is measurement error driving the inverse relationship?

Dean Mitchell Jolliffe, Sam Desiere

The World Bank, United States of America


Capturing the missing middle: Comparing Zambia's emergent & smallholder farmers

Antony Chapoto1, Mitelo Subakanya1, Yuan yuan Yi2, Daniel Ali2, Klaus Deininger2

1IAPRI, Zambia; 2World Bank