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The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana

World BankYale University

We examine the impact of ambiguous and contested land rights on investment and productivity in agriculture in Akwapim, Ghana. We show that individuals who hold powerful positions in a local political hierarchy have more secure tenure rights and that as a consequence they invest more in land fertility and have substantially higher output. The intensity of investments on different plots cultivated by a given individual corresponds to that individual’s security of tenure over those specific plots and, in turn, to the individual’s position in the political hierarchy relevant to those specific plots.