This study investigates attitudes towards legalizing land sales and Willingness to Accept (WTA) sales prices and compensation prices for land among smallholder households in the southern highlands of Ethiopia. Household panel data from 2007 and 2012 are used. The large majority of the sample prefers land sales to remain illegal, and the resistance to legalizing land sales increased from 2007 to 2012. While resistance against land sales was strongest among the most land poor in 2007, the relatively more land rich had become more negative towards legalizing land sales in 2012. Younger age and more education were not associated with a more positive attitude towards legalizing land sales. In the same period, perceived median real land values increased sharply but also exhibit substantial local variation with higher land values in areas with better market access. Stated minimum land sales prices increased with farm size in 2012. The substantial increase in perceived land values, high economic growth and outmigration of youth have yet to persuade the rural population in southern Ethiopia to open the land sales market.


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