This evaluation presents evidence from the first large-scale randomized controlled trial of a land formalization program. This study examines the links between land demarcation and investment in rural Benin.
The demarcation process involved communities in the mapping and attribution of land rights; cornerstones marked parcel boundaries and offered lasting landmarks.
Key research questions addressed by the evaluation are as follows:
• What is the effect of the PFR on perceived and de facto tenure security?
• What is the effect of the PFR on investment in land and agricultural productivity?
• What is the effect of the PFR on land market participation?
• What are the gender-differentiated effects of the PFR on the outcomes of interest?
• What is the effect of the PFR on the intra-household bargaining power of women?
Results: Consistent with the project logic, early evidence shows improved tenure security under demarcation induced a shift toward long-term investment on treated parcels. This investment occurred in a shorter time-frame than estimated and as expected does not yet coincide with gains in agricultural productivity. The analysis also identifies significant gender specific effects. Female-managed landholdings in treated villages are more likely to be left fallow-an important soil fertility investment. Women further respond to an exogenous tenure security change by moving production away from relatively secure, demarcated land and toward less secure land outside the village to guard those parcels.