Small farms and fragmented plots are hallmarks of agriculture in less-developed countries, and there is evidence of high returns to land consolidation and reallocation.  Complementarities, holdout and asymmetric information mean that private trade will be slow to reallocate land, and imply that market design has the potential to contribute to the development process.   However, a key constraint is that low levels of literacy and numeracy may preclude the poor from benefiting from complex market designs.  To understand the importance of this constraint, we conducted a lab-in-the-field experiment with Kenyan small-holder farmers.  Farmers traded land in a hypothetical environment where theory suggests a package exchange would thicken markets and reduce exposure risk.   Comparing performance in a more complex package auction to a simpler continuous double auction we show that the added complexity increased efficiency, reducing the gap to the first best by around 26%.  We find no evidence that the added complexity increased inequality.

About the presenter's visit

Tom Wilkening will be visiting the School of Economics on 15.11.19. While here he will be using room 520A Colin Clark Building. If you would like to meet with him or have lunch or dinner with him please contact Zachary Breig who will be his host while at The University of Queensland.  Zachary Breig can be contacted on z.breig@uq.edu.au.

About School Seminar Series

The School of Economics General Seminar Series is held on Fridays. These are in-person and presented by a range of guest researchers from around Australia and internationally.

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Level 6, Colin Clark building
The University of Queensland
St Lucia campus
629 (boardroom)