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Property Rights, Land Disputes and Water Scarcity: Empirical Evidence from Ethiopia

Journal article
Authors S. Di Falco
J. Laurent-Lucchetti
M. Veronesi
Gunnar Köhlin
Published in American Journal of Agricultural Economics
Volume 102
Issue 1
Pages 54-71
ISSN 0002-9092
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Economics
Pages 54-71
Language en
Keywords Property rights, land disputes, water scarcity, conflicts, Ethiopia, tenure insecurity, economic shocks, civil-war, certification, investment, conflict, impact, deforestation, registration, incentives, Agriculture, Business & Economics
Subject categories Economics, Agricultural economics


This article investigates the relationship between insecure property rights and land disputes using farm household panel data from the highlands of Ethiopia. Our identification strategy relies on the gradual rollout of a land certification program. We find that tenure security significantly reduces the likelihood for a farm household to experience land disputes. We further document that water scarcity during the rainy seasons is an important determinant of land disputes. However, farm households that have been certified are significantly less likely to experience land disputes triggered by water scarcity than farm households without land certification.

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