The role of formal tenure institutions in reducing land tenure insecurity has been long debated in the development economics literature. This study examines and compares the key determinants of perceptions of security of tenure over contract land and wasteland, two types of land that are characterized by tenure being formally and informally ascribed. The material is drawn from the Chinese region of Xinjiang, an ethnically heterogeneous region which has more complex tenure systems than elsewhere in China. Empirical estimations based on a survey of 352 households, complemented by interviews with key informants, demonstrate that formal institutions (measured by official land documents) do not significantly contribute to households' perceptions of tenure security on either type of land, and that both interpersonal trust and political trust significantly enhance perceived tenure security on either land type in our research area. The empirical evidence further shows that perceptions of tenure security on both types of land are more sensitive to trust towards village cadres than trust in villagers.

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Keywords Official land document, Perceived land tenure security, Rural Xinjiang, Trust
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Journal China Economic Review
Rao, F, Spoor, M.N, Ma, X, & Shi, X. (2015). Perceived land tenure security in rural Xinjiang, China: The role of official land documents and trust. China Economic Review. doi:10.1016/j.chieco.2017.03.009