(De Facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Land Tenure in Sub-Saharan Africa

16 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2023

See all articles by Emilio Depetris-Chauvin

Emilio Depetris-Chauvin

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Omer Ozak

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics

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Abstract

We study the role of proximity to historical ethnic borders in determining individual land ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa. Following an instrumental variable strategy, we document that individuals have a lower likelihood of owning land near historical ethnic borders. In particular, the likelihood of owning land decreases by 15 percentage points, i.e., about 1/3 of the mean rate of landownership, for rural migrants who move from 57km (90th percentile) to 2 km (10th percentile) from the border. This result aligns with the view that competition for land is stronger and property rights are weaker close to historical ethnic borders in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: Land ownership, Borders, Property Rights, Historical Homelands, Development, Africa, Voronoi Tessellation, Thiessen Tessellation

Suggested Citation

Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio and Ozak, Omer, (De Facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Land Tenure in Sub-Saharan Africa. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4427523 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4427523

Emilio Depetris-Chauvin (Contact Author)

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile ( email )

Vicuna Mackenna 4860
Santiago, 99999
Chile

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/emiliodepetrischauvin/home

Omer Ozak

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics ( email )

Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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