Working Paper
Rental markets, gender, and land certificates

Evidence from Vietnam

The way property rights affect land rental market behaviour is one of the key issues in development economics. In this paper we show the relationship between land use certificates and the compensation landlords receive when they lease out land to their relatives.

We find that female-headed households who rent out land to their relatives are less likely to receive a payment (monetary or in-kind), unless they possess a title for the land leased. A regional decomposition of our results shows that this effect is more predominant in the North of Vietnam.

This suggests that female-headed households may have weaker de facto rights over land, particularly in the Northern provinces, and that formal legal documents are potentially a useful tool to improve their bargaining power in negotiating land rental terms.