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Measuring the poverty reduction potential of land in rural Mexico

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  • Finan, Frederico
  • Sadoulet, Elisabeth
  • de Janvry, Alain

Abstract

While access to land is back high on the policy agenda as an instrument to attack poverty, strong reservations have been expressed as to whether this strategy can indeed be effective. To help shed light on this important debate, this paper establishes the conditions under which access to land can help reduce poverty in rural communities where poverty is extensive. We use for this purpose household data gathered in 1997 by the Mexican Program for Education, Health, and Nutrition. Results show that access to even a small plot of land can raise household welfare significantly: Using non-parametric regression methods to estimate the relationship between land and welfare, we find that, for small landholders, an additional hectare of land increases welfare on average by 1.3 times the earnings of an agricultural worker. In addition, the marginal welfare value of land depends importantly on a household’s control over complementary assets and on the context where assets are used: For non-indigenous small farmers with at least primary education and access to a road, the welfare benefit of additional land is on average seven times higher than for those without these attributes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 77 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 27-51

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:77:y:2005:i:1:p:27-51

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References

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  1. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Issues in measuring and modeling poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1615, The World Bank.
  2. Winters, Paul C. & de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1999. "Family And Community Networks In Mexico-U.S. Migration," Working Papers 12907, University of New England, School of Economics.
  3. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1995. "Power, distortions, revolt and reform in agricultural land relations," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 42, pages 2659-2772 Elsevier.
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  9. Janvry, Alain de & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2001. "Income Strategies Among Rural Households in Mexico: The Role of Off-farm Activities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 467-480, March.
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  11. Ravallion, Martin & Sen, Binayak, 1994. "Impacts on rural poverty of land-based targeting: Further results for Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 823-838, June.
  12. Neil McCulloch & Bob Baulch, 2000. "Simulating the impact of policy upon chronic and transitory poverty in rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 100-130.
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  15. Sonia Bhalotra & Cliff Attfield, 1998. "Intrahousehold resource allocation in rural Pakistan: a semi-parametric analysis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6679, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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