Environment and Development Economics

Theory and Applications

Land tenure and the management of land and trees: the case of customary land tenure areas of Ghana 1

Keijiro Otsuka a1, Agnes R. Quisumbing a2, Ellen Payongayong a3 and J.B. Aidoo a4
a1 GRIPS/FASID Joint Graduate Program, 2–2 Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162–8677, Japan
a2 Food Consumption and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC 20006–1002, USA
a3 Department of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824–1039, USA
a4 House of Parliament, Republic of Ghana Accra


This study explores the effects of land tenure institutions on land use and management using household date from cocoa growing areas of Ghana. Various land tenure institutions with different land rights coexist in our sites, such as allocated family land, inherited land, appropriated village land, and land received as gift. While tree planting and the decision to leave land fallow may be affected by land tenure status, there are no significant differences in labor allocation and revenue of both cocoa and food crops among parcels under different land tenure institutions. These results support the hypothesis that management incentives of cocoa fields, but not food crop fields, tend to be equalized due to the incentive-enhancing effects of granting secure land rights after efforts to plant cocoa trees are expended.


1 This research was supported by the Government of Japan, the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, and the United States Agency for International Development, Office of Women in Development, Grant No. FAO-0100-G-00-5020-00, on ‘Strengthening Development Policy through Gender Analysis: An Integrated Multicountry Research Program.’ We would like to thank two anonymous referees for their useful comments on the earlier version of this paper.