We propose two treatments, which will be cross-randomized at both the village and individual level.
First, contracts: We suggest that formal, written contracts that specify the property, dates of land use rights, crops to be grown and rental prices to be paid (in cash or in kind) , co-signed by village leaders may encourage rental transactions, particularly transactions between farmers who may be less closely related and where trust of good-faith contracting may be lower. In 55 of these 110 villages, we would introduce contracts at a village meeting and provide copies to the village lead farmer (the lead farmer is both a local authority on agriculture and receives a stipend from RAB to disseminate information. That lead farmer would be provided a list of farmer names selected at random from village listings and encouraged to discuss contracts with as many people as possible, prioritizing the village list. We would then provide the lead farmer with a small incentive to successfully reach this listing, verified through audits a week after the meeting. We anticipate that (a) at the village level, the availability of formal contracts leads to additional rentals and (b) at the individual level, contract promotion leads to increased rentals. A copy of the contract is available in the annex.
Second, information. In 55 of these 110 villages, we will ask the lead farmer to serve as a “farmer broker.” At a village meeting enumerators will discuss land rentals, and introduce this new role of the lead farmer. That lead farmer will be given a list of names selected at random from the village listing and he or she will be asked prioritize that listing, but to speak to as many farmers as possible to identify which farmers are interested in renting in or out land, whether their interest is greater for plots in the irrigated site or outside of the irrigated site, and whether the farmer is willing to have this information shared with interested parties in the village. Once this information is elicited, the farmer broker will return to the priority list and share information about potential matches. Once again, the records of the farmer will be audited, with the potential to receive a small incentive. We hypothesize that solving this information friction will lead to additional rentals and rentals to individuals who are more distant in the social network. We additionally hypothesize that there may be complementary impacts of the two interventions as both information and contracting may be simultaneous constraints preventing rental contracts from being executed between distant parties.