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Normes sociales et productivité dans le processus d’appariement des contrats agricoles*

Tina Rambonilaza ()

L'Actualité Economique, 2004, vol. 80, issue 4, 571-592

Abstract: In the standard problem of mechanism design under adverse selection, it is well known that the payment from the Principal will be an increasing function of the agent’s unknown productivity or skill. Development economists are generally of the opinion that adverse selection is of little relevance in the context of closely-knit village communities. Hence, in the land rental market, if tenant’ skill is a widely shared information between landowners, access to land for a particular tenant will depend on his own skill. We then investigate the role of skill variable in the matching process of landlords and tenants for a Tunisian village for which we have data on production, household characteristics and land rental contract. However, competence variable is not observable by the econometrician. We construct a measure of the household unobservable competence by estimating a plot level production function with household-specific fixed effects, which are then purged of household observable characteristics influence. The analysis of the covariation between the measure of unobservable competence obtained for the tenants and for the landlords provides an evidence of complementary mating. Interestingly, tenants have a higher skill level than their landlord. Furthermore, landowners rent out their land to tenant households with which they are engaged in other social relationships. Finally, social norms then provide relevant explanation for the exclusion of more skilled potential tenants from the land rental market. Cet article essaie de mettre en évidence le rôle de la compétence dans le processus d’appariement des partenaires sur le marché de la location des terres et l’importance des normes sociales dans l’organisation agraire. La variable compétence est dans la plupart des cas non observable par l’économètre. À partir de l’estimation de la fonction de production des ménages agricoles par la méthode de l’économétrie des données de panel, nous proposons une méthodologie permettant de disposer d’une mesure de cette variable. L’analyse de la covariation des niveaux des compétences des propriétaires avec ceux des locataires sur les parcelles sous contrat montre une complémentarité des deux partenaires quant à leur compétence agricole. Par ailleurs, les tests empiriques montrent que le processus d’appariement n’est pas aléatoire. Ces résultats amènent à conclure que les normes sociales organisent le marché. Ces normes ne sont pas toujours efficaces car elles peuvent exclure du marché certains ménages compétents.

Date: 2004
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