American University
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posted on 2023-08-05, 07:24 authored by Zachariah Ngoh Tah

This study examines empirically the effects of Cameroon's 1974 land ordinances requiring the registration of land ownership and utilization during the time period 1974-1979. Its theoretical orientation is drawn from certain proposals and field work in the sociology of law, among them Ehrlich's proposal to distinguish between "living law" and "written law" (1936), Dror's refinement of this distinction into the notion of a gap between expected and observed behavior that can be assessed as either narrowing or widening over time (1959), Herbert Blumer's distinction between symbolic and non-symbolic interaction (1969), and the field work of Moore (1973), Kusterer (1972) and Nicholson (1973), conducted on Warriner's hypothesis that effects rather than aims, scale and/or methods of implementation of law or policy will reveal what policies are likely to produce what results under what conditions (1969). Data utilized by the study consist of government documents, publications, and land registers, supplemented by interviews with representative associates of the Cameroon government's Land Department. Entries of land registers were analyzed to determine rates of responses and were tabulated according to both registration centers and years. Percentages and indices were computed for ranking, categorizing, and comparing variables nominally measured. The survey was based on a judgmental sample (N = 50) of nine centers and was conducted by distributing an eight-item questionnaire to knowledgeable subjects selected from a target population. Survey data were cross-tabulated with rates of response, and major towns were rank-ordered to compare rates of response and business development. Analysis of the data thus compiled revealed an irreconcilable gap (99.662%) between expected and observed behavior, meaning that only .338% of the population registered their lands during the study period. From 1974 to 1976 there was an increase in registration, and from 1976 to 1979 there was a decline. We examined the relationships between our dependent variable, the rate of response, and the following independent variables: residence (regional distribution), education, land-use formats, and status. We found a significant difference in regional responses. We also found a strong relationship between response rates and land-use formats, with 50% of the responses coming from businesses, 25% from residences, and 25% from agriculture. No significant relationship was found between response rates and status, indicating that neither family size nor traditional position (natural ruler) influenced the rate of response as much as did education. Significant relationships were found, however, between the rate of response and both intention and the developmentalist theory tradition, indicating that economic inclinations were a factor and that the situation in which land registration was important was one of developed rather than developing technology. One analysis also raises the question of whether response rates will increase now that the transitional period has been extended from five to ten years. We anticipate that the answer will be negative because the extension does nothing to alter the factors influencing the response rates. It is more likely that the trend will continue, whereby the few who conform, by reasons of business or education, will increase their private holdings at the expense of many. We recommend, however, a replication of the present study at the end of the ten-year period in 1984 and a restructuring of land registers during the interim period to include details that would serve to refine the analysis.



American University




Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 41-06, Section: A, page: 2792.; Ph.D. American University 1980.; English


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