Kalkuhl, M., Schwerhoff, G., Waha, K.

Land tenure, climate and risk management

in Ecological  Economics, 23.01.2020

Peer Review , Economic Growth and Human Development

We analyze to what extent climate conditions affect the prevalence of sharecropping as a form of traditional land tenure. We investigate how sharecropping tenure is related to climate risk and how it interacts with fertilizer use and livestock ownership that both influence production risk. We first develop a stylized theoretical model to illustrate the role of climate for land tenure and production. Our empirical analysis is based on more than 9000 households with considerable heterogeneity in climate conditions across several African countries. We find that farmers in areas with low precipitation are more likely to be sharecroppers. We further find evidence for risk management interaction effects as sharecropping farmers are less likely to own livestock and more likely to use fertilizer. In economies where formal kinds of insurance are unavailable, sharecropping thus functions as a form of insurance and reduces the need for potentially costly risk management strategies.