Tenurial security and agricultural investment: Evidence from Vietnam

Marc F. Bellemare, Kenn Chua, Julieth Santamaria, Khoa Vu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In Vietnam, all lands belong to the state, which assigns usufruct rights to those lands to individuals and households. In 1993, the state gave 20-year usufruct rights to growers of annual crops, and 50-year usufruct rights to growers of perennial crops. In 2013, as the usufruct rights of growers of annual crops were about to expire, the Vietnamese government passed a law—the Land Law of 2013—that extended the usufruct rights of all landowners by 50 years. We exploit this largely unanticipated shock to study the effect of tenurial security on agricultural investment. Using a difference-in-differences design, we find that the Land Law of 2013 is associated with a higher likelihood of investment by growers of annual crops in irrigation technology or soil and water conservation, but not other types of investment. Our results are robust to controlling for endogenous switching from annual to perennial crops, and our data support the parallel trends assumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101839
JournalFood Policy
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank UNU-WIDER for funding this research project and for giving us access to the VARHS data. We also thank two anonymous reviewers as well as conference participants at the 2018 Waves of VARHS Data project workshop in Helsinki for comments and suggestions that have helped substantially improve this manuscript. All remaining errors are ours.


  • Investment
  • Land rights
  • Land tenure
  • Tenurial insecurity
  • Tenurial security


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