Land tenure and land tenure reforms


Our work on land tenure and land tenure reforms include analyses of a variety of impacts of low cost land registration and certification in Ethiopia, effects of forest land allocation and certification on tenure security of households in rural China, caste discrimination and impacts on land renting and land productivity in Nepal, welfare implications of land access through markets and through inheritance in Uganda, and land rights, gender and land markets in Malawi.


Uma Lele’s Award to Best Contributed Paper on Gender

The paper "The Role of Land Certification in Reducing Gender Gaps in Productivity in Rural Ethiopia" written by Mintewab Bezabih, Stein T. Holden and Andrea Mannberg, was given the "Uma Lele’s Award to Best Contributed Paper on Gender" at the International Conference of Agricultural Economists (IAAE), "The Global Bio-Economy" at Iguassu Falls, Cataratas, Brazil, August 18-24, 2012. Link

Recent publications:


Journal papers:

Holden, S. T. and Tilahun, M. (2020). Farm size and gender distribution of land: Evidence from Ethiopian land registry data. World Development 130: doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.104926  Link


Deininger, K., Xia, F. and Holden, S. T. (2018). Gendered Incidence and Impacts of Tenure Insecurity on Agricultural Performance in Malawi’s Customary Tenure System. Journal of Development Studies Link


Holden, S. T. and Tilahun, M. (2018). The importance of Ostrom's design principles: Youth group performance in Northern Ethiopia. World Development 104: 10-30. Link


Holden, S. T. and Ghebru, H. (2016). Land tenure reforms, tenure security and food security in poor agrarian economies: Causal linkages and research gaps. Global Food Security 10: 21-28. Link


Holden, S. T. and Ghebru, H. (2016). Land rental market legal restrictions in Northern Ethiopia. Land Use Policy 55: 212-221. Link


Holden, S. T. and Bezu, S. (2016). Preferences for land sales legalization and land values in Ethiopia. Land Use Policy 52: 410-421. Link


Bezabih, M., Holden, S. T. and Mannberg, A. (2016). The Role of Land Certification in Reducing Gaps in Productivity between Male- and Female-Owned Farms in Rural Ethiopia. Journal of Development Studies 52(3): 360–376. Link


Ghebru, H. and Holden, S.T. (2015). Technical Efficiency and Productivity Differential Effects of Land Right Certification: A Quasi-Experimental Evidence. Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture 54 (1): 1-31. Link


Holden, S. T. and Otsuka, K. (2014). The Roles of Land Tenure Reforms and Land Markets in the Context of Population Growth and Land Use Intensification in Africa. Food Policy 48: 88–97. Link


Bezu, S. and Holden, S. T. (2014). Are Rural Youth in Ethiopia Abandoning Agriculture?. World Development 64: 259–272. Link


Bezu, S. and Holden, S. T. (2014). Demand for second-stage land certification in Ethiopia: Evidence from household panel data. Land Use Policy 41: 193–205. Link


Conference presentations:


Presentations (joint papers with Mesfin Tilahun) at the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington, DC on 20th-24th March, 2017: 

  • The Importance of Ostrom's Design Principles: Youth Group Performance in Northern Ethiopia. Link
  • Land distribution in Noerthern Ethiopia from 1998 to 2016: Gender-disaggregated, Spatial and Intertemporal Variation. Link



Working papers:


Holden, S. T. and Tilahun, M. (2017). Land Distribution in Northern Ethiopia from 1998 to 2016: Gender-disaggregated, Spatial and Intertemporal Variation. CLTS Working Paper No. 3/2017. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway. Link


Holden, S. T. and Tilahun, M. (2017). The importance of Ostrom's design principles: Youth group performance in Northern Ethiopia. CLTS Working Paper No. 2/2017. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway. Link


Deininger, K., Xia, F. and Holden, S. T.(2017). Gender-differentiated impacts of tenure insecurity on agricultural performance in Malawi's customary tenure systems. World Bank Policy Research Paper No. WPS7943. Link


Holden, S. T. and Bezu, S. (2014). Land Valuation and Perceptions of Land Sales Prohibition in Ethiopia. CLTS Working Paper No. 12/2014. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway. Link


Holden, Stein T. and Keijiro Otsuka (2013). The Roles of Land Tenure Reforms and Land Markets in the Context of Population Growth and Land Use Intensification in Africa. CLTS Working Paper No. 15/2013. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Holden, Stein T. and Sosina Bezu (2013). Joint Land Certification and Intra-household Decision-making: Towards Empowerment of Wives?. CLTS Working Paper No. 14/2013. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Bezu, Sosina and Stein T. Holden (2013). Land Access and Youth Livelihood Opportunities in Southern Ethiopia CLTS Working Paper No. 11/2013. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Bezu, S. and Holden, S.(2013). Unbundling Land Administrative Reform: Demand for Second Stage Land  Certification in Ethiopia. CLTS Working Paper No. 3/2013. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Ghebru, H. and Holden, S.(2013). Links between Tenure Security and Food Security: Evidence from Ethiopia. CLTS Working Paper No. 2/2013. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K.(Eds.) (2013). Land Tenure Reforms in Asia and Africa: Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management. Palgrave Macmillan. August 2013. Link


Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K.(2013). Land Tenure Reforms, Poverty and Natural Resource Management: Conceptual Framework. Chapter 1 in Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K. (Eds.) (2013). Land Tenure Reforms in Asia and Africa: Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management. Palgrave Macmillan. August 2013.


Aryal, J. and Holden, S.(2013). Caste Discrimination, Land Reforms and Land Market Performance in Nepal. Chapter 2 in Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K. (Eds.) (2013). Land Tenure Reforms in Asia and Africa: Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management. Palgrave Macmillan. August 2013.


Holden, S. and Ghebru, H.(2013). Welfare Impacts of Land Certification in Tigray, Ethiopia. Chapter 6 in Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K. (Eds.) (2013). Land Tenure Reforms in Asia and Africa: Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management. Palgrave Macmillan. August 2013.


Tatwangire, A. and Holden, S.(2013). Land Market Participation and Farm Size-Productivity Relationship: Implications of Land Tenure Reforms in Uganda. Chapter 8 in Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K. (Eds.) (2013). Land Tenure Reforms in Asia and Africa: Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management. Palgrave Macmillan. August 2013.


Holden, S., Yi, Y., Jiang, X. and Xu, J.(2013). Tenure Security and Investment Effects of Forest Tenure Reform in China. Chapter 11 in Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K. (Eds.) (2013). Land Tenure Reforms in Asia and Africa: Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management. Palgrave Macmillan. August 2013.


Mekonnen, A. Ghebru, H., Holden, S. and Kassie, M.(2013). Impact of Land Certification on Tree Growing on Private Plots of Rural Households: Evidence from Ethiopia. Chapter 13 in Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K. (Eds.) (2013). Land Tenure Reforms in Asia and Africa: Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management.Palgrave Macmillan. August 2013.


Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K.(2013). Conclusions. Chapter 16 in Holden, S., Otsuka, K. and Deininger, K. (Eds.) (2013). Land Tenure Reforms in Asia and Africa: Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management. Palgrave Macmillan. August 2013.


Aryal, J. P. and Holden, S. T.(2012). Livestock and Land Share Contracts in a Hindu Society. Agricultural Economics 43, 593-606. Full text. Abstract. Summary


Ghebru, H. and Holden, S.(2012). Reverse Share-Tenancy and Marshallian Inefficiency: Bargaining Power of Landowners and the Sharecroppers’ Productivity CLTS Working Paper No 10/2012. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Bezabih, M., Holden, S. and Mannberg, A. (2012). The Role of Land Certification in Reducing Gender Gaps in Productivity in Rural Ethiopia CLTS Working Paper No 9/2012. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Aryal, J. P. and Holden, S.(2011). Caste, Land and Labour Market Imperfections, and Land Productivity in Rural Nepal. CLTS Working Paper No.6/2011. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Holden, S. T., Xu, J. and Jiang, X.(2011). Collective versus Individual Property: Tenure Security and Forest Tenure Reforms in China. CLTS Working Paper No. 4/2011.Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Holden, S. T., Deininger, K. and Ghebru, H.(2011). Does Land Registration and Certification Reduce Land Border Disputes? CLTS Working Paper No.5/2011. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Holden, S. T. and Ghebru, H. (2011). Household Welfare Effects of Low-cost Land Certification in Ethiopia. CLTS Working Paper No. 3/2011. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Tatwangire, A. and Holden, S. T. (2011). Welfare Effects of Market Friendly Land Reforms in Uganda. CLTS Working Paper No. 2/2011. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Aryal, J. P. and Holden, S. T. (2011). Caste Discrimination, Land Reforms and Land Market Performance in Nepal. CLTS Working Paper No. 1/2011. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Holden, S. T., Deininger, K. and Ghebru, H. (2011). Tenure Insecurity, Gender, Low-cost Land Certification and Land Rental Market Participation. Journal of Development Studies 47(1), 31-47. Link


Holden, S. T., Deininger, K. and Ghebru, H. (2010). Impact of land registration and certification on land border conflicts in Ethiopia. Paper presented at the World Bank Annual Conference on Land Policy and Administration in Washington DC April 26-27, 2010. Link


Deininger, K., D. Ayalew Ali, S. Holden, J. Zevenbergen (2010). Certification foncière en Éthiopie : processus et impact initial. In Jean-Philippe Colin, Pierre-Yves Le Meur & Eric Léonard (eds),  Les politiques d’enregistrement des droits fonciers Du cadre légal aux pratiques locales. Karthala, France.


Holden, S. T. and Sietchiping, R. (2010). Land, Environment and Climate Change. Challenges, Responses and Tools. Global Land Tools Network, UNHABITAT, Nairobi. Link


Aryal, J. and Holden, S. T. (2010). Caste, Marshallian Inefficiency, and the Farm Size-Productivity Relationship. Paper under revision for Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Link (Paper II, p. 63-110)


Holden, S. T. (2009). Power Traps or Poverty Traps? Institutions, Markets, and Environmental and Livelihood Restoration. Paper presented at the NFU Conference, 23-24. November 2009, University of Agder, Kristiansand. Link 


Holden, S., Xu, J. and Jiang, X. (2011). Collective versus Individual Property: Tenure Security and Forest Tenure Reforms in China. CLTS Working Paper No. 4/2011. Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway. Link


Holden, S. T., Deininger, K. and Ghebru, H. (2009). Impacts of Low-cost Land Certification on Investment and Productivity. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 91 (2):359-373. Abstract


Benjaminsen, T. A., Holden, S. T., Lund, C. and Sjaastad, E. (2009). Formalisation of land rights: Some empirical evidence from Mali, Niger and South Africa. Land Use Policy 26: 28–35. Abstract


Holden, S. T., Deininger, K. and Ghebru, H. (2009). Impact of Land Certification on Land-related Conflicts. Submitted to Land Economics. Abstract


Deininger, K., Ali, D., Holden, S. T. og Zevenbergen, J. (2008). Rural land certification in Ethiopia: Process, initial impact, and implications for the other African countries. World Developmen 36(10): 1786-1812. Abstract


Holden, S. T. and Tefera, T. (2008). From Being Property of Men to Becoming Equal Owners? Early Impacts of Land Registration and Certification on Women in Southern Ethiopia. UN-HABITAT, Shelter Branch, Land Tenure and Property Administration Section. Nairobi. Link


Holden, S. T. and Tefera, T. (2008). Early Impacts of Land Registration and Certification on Women in Southern Ethiopia. Summary Report, UN-HABITAT, Shelter Branch, Land Tenure and Property Administration Section. Nairobi. Link


Holden, S. T., Kaarhus, R. and Lunduka, R. (2006). Land Policy Reform: The Role of Land Markets and Women's Land Rights in Malawi. Noragric Report No. 36, Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), Ås. Link

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