Eyerusalem Siba from the Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg

"Land Certification Program, Farm Size and Off-Farm Employment in Ethiopia"


Land tenure security has long been touted as a key to increased performance of the agricultural sector in developing countries. This paper analyses the impact of the land certification program on farmers’ off-farm particiaption and activity choice in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. Farm household level panel data on land certification and off farm employment activities is employed in the analysis. The extent to which land certification affects the decision to particiapte in off farm employment activities is assessed using the difference-in-differences approach. In light of similar previous studies, the major contributions of the paper are two: assessment of effects of enhanced land tenure security on activities outside agriculture and the role of farm size in determining off-farm participation. The results show that certification is a significant determinant of participation in off-farm employment. However, the relationship is conditional on farm size in the sense that housheolds with larger farms are constrained from participating in off-farm activities. This is presumably due to increased labour demand for on-farm activities that is not sufficiently offset by the increased confidence to leave behind a farm that was otherwise constrained by fear of signalling excess holding. The differentials in the responsiveness of different off farm activities to both certification and farm size indicates the need to recognize the complex relationships between land tenure enhancing reform policies and the non agricultural subsector in rural areas.