Assessing the Impact of Second-Level Land Certification in Ethiopia

    1. Study Information

       

      This section discusses the paper presented at the 2017 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty  by Lauren Persha, Adi Greif, and Heather Huntington, “Assessing the Impact of Second-Level Land Certification in Ethiopia”.1

      The study presents the results of a USAID-funded impact evaluation of the Ethiopia Land Tenure Administration Program (ELTAP) and the Ethiopia Land Administration Program (ELAP). Using panel data collected from 4,319 households that were surveyed across 284 kebeles (village clusters) in Amhara, Oromia,Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNP), and Tigray regions. The evaluation employed a Difference-in-Difference design coupled with matching to examine the impact of second-level certification relative to first-level certification across a range of household-level outcomes.

      In addition to average impacts, the study also examines how impacts of second-level certification vary for a set of seven program-relevant characteristics of households or villages that could be important modifiers of program effect:  gender of household head; marital status of household head; program round (i.e., ELTAP vs. ELAP); household total landholdings; wealth status; age of household head; and distance to regional capital.

    2. Questions posed
      • There were 6 questions posed by the impact assessment. Does second-level land certification:
      • Increase household access to credit?
      • Reduce the number of land related disputes and dispute resolution time?
      • Increases the likelihood that households engage in land rental and sharecropping activities?
      • Encourage households to invest more in soil and water conservation?
      • Result in stronger perceived tenure security for women and men?
      • Increase women’s involvement in land management and decision-making activities?
    3. Description of intervention

      This paper presents the results of an impact evaluation of the ELTAP/ELAP second-level certification work. The evaluation focuses on the marginal impact of second-level certification relative to first-level certification across a range of household-level outcomes. Second-level certification was digitized and included surveying and mapping.

    4. Context of findings

      First-level certification (local level distribution of paper land certificates) did not map individual plots or provide a sufficient level of spatial detail around boundary documentation to allow for the development of cadastral maps for improved land use management and administration. To address these limitations, beginning in 2005, the USAID-supported Ethiopia Strengthening Land Tenure Administration Program (ELTAP) worked with woreda-level (district) land administration agencies to pilot a second-level land certification process. ELTAP was implemented in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and SNNP from 2005 to 2008. USAID support for second-level certification continued under the Ethiopia Land Administration Program (ELAP), which ran from August 2008 to February 2013.

    5. Key findings

      The study finds only marginal benefits to the second-level certification. These include:

      • A 10% additional increase in the likelihood of households in the treatment group taking out any credit for farming purposes, and a small increase in the average amount of credit obtained. The evaluation finds little evidence for a significant impact of second-level certification on whether a household uses a land certificate as collateral to obtain credit.
      • Moderate impacts on certain indicators for land tenure security, including an 11% increase in the likelihood of the household believing they have a heritable right to bequeath their land, relative to households with no certification or first-level certification only.
      • An 11% increase in the likelihood of a wife possessing land in her name, and a 0.32 hectare increase in land held jointly by husband and wife or by female-headed households, as a result of second-level certification.
      • A 44% increase in a wife deciding which crops to grow on land in her possession. The magnitude of these impacts is fairly large, and results are moderately robust. However, the sub-group results suggest that second-level certification leads to a significant and substantial improvement for female-headed households or widow-headed households across some measures of land tenure security and female empowerment. This includes an 11% average increase in the likelihood of female-headed households (and a 12% average increase in the likelihood of widows) feeling more secure about entering into credit-based business transactions when the transactions occur with a holder of a land certificate. There is a positive and statistically significant impact of second-level certification on credit access for female-headed households, however the magnitude of this positive impact from second-level certification is not as large for female-headed households as it is for male-headed households.

      The evaluation did not find a significant effect from second-level certification on land rental activity or household investment in soil and water conservation measures, relative to first-level certification. It also did not find a significant impact on land disputes, although the overall very low frequency of land disputes experienced by surveyed households meant that the evaluation was not able to detect small changes in dispute activity if it existed.

    6. Unanswered questions
      • The 11% increase in the likelihood of a wife possessing land in her name is only true when the comparison is between unregistered land and second registration. Between the first and second registration, the increase is not statistically significant. Is there a greater increase in the likelihood of a wife possessing land in her name between no registration and first registration?
    NOTES
    1. Persha, Lauren, Greif, Adi, and Huntington, Heather. "Assessing the Impact of Second-Level Land Certification in Ethiopia," Paper prepared for presentation at the “2017 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty” The World Bank, Washington DC, March 20-24, 2017.