Although there is broad agreement that well functioning land rental markets will play an important role to increase productivity and household welfare as agrarian economies develop, evidence from Africa on the actual performance and impact of such markets is limited. We use data from Uganda to test for differences in the performance of rental, as compared to sales markets and their evolution over time, based on a framework where markets are affected by differences in ability and imperfections in rural labor and capital markets. We find that land markets are very active, that land rental but not sales markets transfer land to more efficient and relatively poor producers thereby providing an opportunity for the landless to access land, and that rental market activity has increased recently with economic growth. Despite land prices in some regions being above the net present value of land we find no evidence for sales markets leading to land concentration and conclude that, rather than imposing administrative restrictions, government should aim to improve access to alternative savings instruments.
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