The Effects of Formalizing Customary Land Rights on Landowners and Land Users: Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire

Last registered on June 24, 2024

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The Effects of Formalizing Customary Land Rights on Landowners and Land Users: Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0013810
Initial registration date
June 13, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 24, 2024, 1:49 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Pittsburgh

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University College London
PI Affiliation
World Bank Group
PI Affiliation
University College London
PI Affiliation
World Bank Group
PI Affiliation
World Bank Group

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2020-08-01
End date
2024-08-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
This project studies a land certification program in rural Côte d'Ivoire aimed at formalizing customary rights to land. Through a randomized policy experiment, we will examine the impacts of land certification access on landowners and land users. This pre-analysis describes the project's motivation and research questions, experimental design, and empirical strategies to be implemented in analysis.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Caflisch, Andrea et al. 2024. "The Effects of Formalizing Customary Land Rights on Landowners and Land Users: Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire." AEA RCT Registry. June 24. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.13810-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
In the first four years of the PAMOFOR program, operations were targeted to 29 sous-prefectures in 6 regions of the country. In these areas, agents coordinated by the Rural Land Agency (AFOR) visit villages and undertake four activities (referred to as "4-in-1"): delimitation of village boundaries, identification of landholders with ownership and use rights, land certification for landowners, and formalization of land use contracts.

In treated villages, the intervention plan directs AFOR agents to offer certification to all eligible landholders, where eligibility is determined by possession of documents confirming customary rights over fields along with valid personal identification.

The process starts with the determination of village boundary sections, and then, demarcation of village boundary sections. Once this phase village demarcation is completed, the AFOR land operator divides the territory into blocks, and draws up a deployment plan for each block and informs village households.

For a given block, the operator invites all concerned persons (customary rights holders), as well as members of the village land management board, to show up for a "parcel survey." Then, customary rights holders, their neighbors and any other interested parties together determine the boundaries of the plots and proceed to provisionally mark these boundaries.

After or during the parcel survey, eligible households are asked to submit their applications for a land certificate. If no application is made for a parcel for which a boundary statement has been drawn up, the certification process is not processed. If a request is made, the procedure proceeds to certificate processing delivery.

Landholders and land users in treated villages are also offered the opportunity to formalize land use contracts governing the use of land owned by landholders. The field operations team then undertakes the production of formal land certificates and land use contracts for landholders and land users that take up each respective offer. Control villages are not visited by AFOR agents and receive no certification facilitation. Household in control areas can at any time avail existing processes to formalize ownership or land use per the 1998 Land Law, yet we expect rates of certification adoption in control areas to be close to zero given extremely low formalization rates at baseline.
Intervention Start Date
2020-11-01
Intervention End Date
2024-06-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Property rights: Receipt of land certification/certification of land use contract, including whether an individual contract or joint among household members; Perceived tenure security; Land conflict; Decision-making over plot use and derived income

Agricultural outcomes: Crop choice; Investment (binary variable for any investment and intensive measure); Input usage; Farm yields (binary variable for increased yields and intensive measure); Overall agricultural revenue (binary variables for increased revenue, positive revenue, and intensive measure); Hours worked in agriculture

Economic activities: Off-farm revenue (binary variable for any off-farm revenue and intensive measure); Labor supply; Household consumption and food security; Migration
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Survey data and administrative data will be used to construct primary outcomes

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Share of plots owned by gender; Decision-making responsibility over plots by gender; Investment in children (education and health)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Survey data and administrative data will be used to construct primary outcomes

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The evaluation will compare 29 sous-pref ́ectures randomly selected for treatment to 29 sous-prefectures that were randomly assigned to control in May 2018 to enable preparation of the intervention’s implementation. The overall sous-prefecture sample size was defined by the project’s expansion capacity, and randomization was stratified by the regions shown in Figure 1. Stratification by existing share of land certification within villages was not feasible as the share of formal land ownership was less 1 percent at time of randomization according to AFOR.

Administrative data will be collected in all villages in treatment and control areas. Baseline survey data was collected in 2019 in 456 villages (202 control, 252 treatment) across 58 sous-prefectures (29 control, 29 treatment) within treatment and control areas, totalling 2,227 households (1,215 control, 1,012 treatment). These households were selected randomly from a household listing constructed in
each village before the start of baseline data collection. This sample include 398 land user households (183 control, 215 treatment). Endline surveying will involve revisiting the same sample and sampling (randomly from pool of not-yet-surveyed land user households within baseline household listing) a new set of 700 land user households, evenly selected across treatment and control villages. The total endline sample is expected to include 2,927 households, 1,829 of which will be landowners and 1,098 land
users.

Rollout of the PAMOFOR intervention began in October 2020 and proceeded across treatment areas over time. Interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic slowed completion of field operations. By March 2022, AFOR had initiated operations in all villages in treatment areas and plans to complete operations everywhere by June 2024.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done on computer in office, coordinated with government partners.
Randomization Unit
Sub-prefecture
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
58
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,927 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
29 sub-prefectures in treatment, 29 in control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See pre-analysis plan.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
HML
IRB Approval Date
2024-05-15
IRB Approval Number
707WBG20
Analysis Plan

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