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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the transformation of farm-cum-family structures in Africa and the forces that drive such a transformation process. It begins by reviewing the partial theories of individualization before turning to a discussion of a more general approach that explains family-and-farm structures in terms of the magnitude of land endowment and outside opportunities. Two different types of individualization of farms and families are considered: the emergence of mixed farm structures in which adult members of the family receive private plots that can be used for their own benefit during limited periods of time, and the splitting of the stem household into branch households that coincides with the division of the land and the granting of pre-mortem inheritance. The chapter concludes by illustrating how economic theory can shed light on the emergence of farm-cum-family forms in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: individualization, land endowment, farms, families, households, inheritance, economic theory, sub-Saharan Africa

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