Impacts of Large Scale Foreign Land Acquisitions on Rural Households: Evidence from Ethiopia

46 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2016

See all articles by Emma Aisbett

Emma Aisbett

ANU - School of Regulation and Global Governance

Giulia Barbanente

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics; International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics, Students

Date Written: November 13, 2016

Abstract

The impact of large-scale foreign land acquisitions (“landgrabs”) on rural households in developing countries has proven a highly contentious question in public discourse.

Similarly, in the academic literature, "evolutionary" theories of property rights and "enclosure" models make diametrically opposed predictions about the impacts on holders of informal property rights of increased demand for land. The current paper uses a multi-method approach to provide much-needed empirical evidence on the impacts of large-scale land acquisitions in Ethiopia. We use basic economic theory to structure evidence from disparate sources, including: a survey of existing qualitative evidence; original legal analysis of specific foreign land-acquisition contracts; and original econometric analysis of new World Bank household survey data.

The evidence from all three methods suggests large-scale foreign land acquisitions are associated with losses of land and resource rights for rural households. While there is some compensating evidence of increased household expenditure, it is difficult to say whether this increase is caused by growth in incomes or in implicit prices.

Keywords: Ethiopia, large-scale land acquisitions, LSMS-ISA, smallholder farmers, coarsened exact matching

Suggested Citation

Aisbett, Emma and Barbanente, Giulia, Impacts of Large Scale Foreign Land Acquisitions on Rural Households: Evidence from Ethiopia (November 13, 2016). Crawford School Working Paper 1602, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2868817 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2868817

Emma Aisbett (Contact Author)

ANU - School of Regulation and Global Governance ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Giulia Barbanente

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
PO box 1738
Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) ( email )

Via Paolo di Dono
Rome, 00142
Italy

University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics, Students ( email )

Hamburg
Germany

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