Land allocation in subsistence economies and intra-familial time-use decisions

Type Report
Title Land allocation in subsistence economies and intra-familial time-use decisions
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Classical household theory predicts that adolescents facing a developed labour
market should invest in formal education. In contrast, it is obvious that adolescents
in subsistence economies should choose learning-by-doing approaches to working on
the family farm. However, it is unclear what determines optimal education choices
among societies in transition from subsistence to labour-market integration.
While education is generally the basic condition to enter the labour market, access
to land represents an important asset in subsistence farming. This paper argues that
intra-household time use and education – that is, time spent learning outside the
family farm – is influenced by the way land is transferred from one generation to the
next. We use a dichotomous approach assuming that land is either transferred by
bequest or by a formal land board. These two methods represent the extremes of a
scale that considers personal relations and reliance on certified abilities as the basis
for land allocation.
This paper provides a theoretical analysis of how anticipated bequests and asset
transfers from other sources influence trade-offs between work on the family farm
and other time-use options. We discuss the effects using a case study from the

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