Student: Efua Aferiba Hayford
Advisors: Dr. Melanie Long, Dr. Amyaz Moledina
This research considers lower productivity levels of female farmers and how this contributes to gender differences in food security and agricultural income. I hypothesize that more secure land tenure rights for women will explain the gender gap in agricultural productivity. The relationship between these variables is examined using the Theory of Household Bargaining, the Assurance Effect and the Collateralizability Effect. The hypothesis is tested with a multivariate regression analysis using household survey data from Ghana. Although the estimated relationship between the security of land ownership and agricultural productivity is positive, it is statistically insignificant and has a negligible effect on gender. Additionally, I consider how secure land tenure can affect agricultural investment of farmers in rural Ghana. The empirical analysis shows an overall negative effect on investment when the farmer is female, and varying coefficients for land tenure security, depending on the type of investment being explored.
The empirical analysis of this research paper uses a dataset from the Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) which presents household survey data from 2009 on a random sample of households from the ten regions of Ghana. From this dataset, I derive output per hectare as a measure of agricultural productivity. I explore the effects of gender, the fear of expropriation and other controls on this outcome variable using an OLS regression model. The results weakly support the hypothesis, showing that women have lower productivity and that secure land rights are positively associated with productivity. However, the ownership security result is not statistically significant.
Overtime, research has been conducted to explore the gender gap that exists in agricultural productivity in Ghana. Overall, the results have shown that male farmers in this area have higher productivity (output per hectare) than their female counterparts. This gap exists because of factors such as differences in farm inputs (for example, seeds or farm tools), the access to fertile plots of land, and the structure of the household, also the gender inequality in access to land rights.
Having a secure claim to land provides room for the farmer to produce and be productive over a long space of time. When the farmers have rights to the land, that cannot be contested by anyone, they are free to produce at any level and expand their production over time.
However, it is not enough to ask whether land rights are granted to women. It also matters whether women’s land rights are secure or easily threatened. This Senior Independent Study explores the question of whether land tenure security explains part of the gender gap in agricultural productivity among landowners in rural Ghana. In discussing land tenure security, this research speaks extensively on how the issue of uncertainty or the fear of losing land applies to male and female landowners and in turn, how that affects their output per hectare and investment. The hypothesis for this research is that lower land tenure security among women partly explains lower agricultural productivity and investment among female landowners in Ghana.
The research works on the basis of the theories of household bargaining, the assurance effect, and the collateralizability effect to explore this relationship. The theory of household decision making considers how decisions made within a household can impact the ownership of land and decisions to invest by female farmers. The Assurance Effect investigates the ways that farmers can make a stronger claim to land and the return of investment made on that land. The assurance effect is modeled both by using decision trees with Expected Net Present Value calculations and by modeling the impact of uncertainty on a farmer’s long run capital investment decision. Lastly, the Collateralizability Effect examines how farmers may gain access to capital by using their land as collateral in the credit access process.
Efua will be online to field comments on May 8:
2-4 pm EDT (PST 11am-1pm, Africa/Europe: evening)