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The Evolution of the World Bank's Land Policy: Principles, Experience, and Future Challenges

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  • Deininger, Klaus
  • Binswanger, Hans

Abstract

This article examines the evolution of policy recommendations concerning rural land issues since the formulation of the World Bank's "Land Reform Policy Paper" in 1975. That paper set out three guiding principles: the desirability of owner-operated family farms; the need for markets to permit land to be transferred to more productive users; and the importance of an egalitarian asset distribution. In the 25 years since that paper was published, these guiding principles have remained the same, but it is now recognized that communal tenure systems can be more cost-effective than formal title, that titling programs should be judged on their equity as well as their efficiency, that the potential of land rental markets has often been severely underestimated, that land-sale markets enhance efficiency only if they are integrated into a broader effort at developing rural factor markets, and that land reform is more likely to result in a reduction of poverty fit harnesses (rather than undermines) the operation of land markets and is implemented in a decentralized fashion. Achieving land policies that incorporate these elements requires a coherent legal and institutional framework together with greater reliance on pilot programs to examine the applicability of interventions under local conditions. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 14 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 247-76

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:14:y:1999:i:2:p:247-76

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Cited by:
  1. Paul Castãneda Dower & Tobias Pfutze, 2012. "Specificity of Control: The Case of Mexico's Ejido Reform," Working Papers w0188, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  2. Place, Frank, 2009. "Land Tenure and Agricultural Productivity in Africa: A Comparative Analysis of the Economics Literature and Recent Policy Strategies and Reforms," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1326-1336, August.
  3. Fergusson, Leopoldo, 2012. "The Political Economy of Rural Property Rights and the Persistence of the Dual Economy," Documentos CEDE Series 146455, Universidad de Los Andes, Economics Department.
  4. Fernandez, Linda, 2006. "Natural resources, agriculture and property rights," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 359-373, May.
  5. Peters, Pauline E., 2009. "Challenges in Land Tenure and Land Reform in Africa: Anthropological Contributions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1317-1325, August.
  6. Pellegrini, L. & Dasgupta, A., 2009. "Land reform in Bolivia: the forestry question," ISS Working Papers - General Series 18713, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  7. Boucher, Stephen R. & Barham, Bradford L. & Carter, Michael R., 2005. "The Impact of "Market-Friendly" Reforms on Credit and Land Markets in Honduras and Nicaragua," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 107-128, January.
  8. Simmons, Cynthia & Walker, Robert & Perz, Stephen & Aldrich, Stephen & Caldas, Marcellus & Pereira, Ritaumaria & Leite, Flavia & Fernandes, Luiz Claudio & Arima, Eugenio, 2010. "Doing it for Themselves: Direct Action Land Reform in the Brazilian Amazon," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 429-444, March.
  9. James Roumasset, 2006. "The Economics of Agricultural Development: What Have We Learned? Processes," Working Papers 200604, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  10. Sikor, Thomas & Müller, Daniel, 2009. "The Limits of State-Led Land Reform: An Introduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1307-1316, August.
  11. Thomas Masterson, 2007. "Land Rental and Sales Markets in Paraguay," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_491, Levy Economics Institute.
  12. Fort, Ricardo & Ruben, Ruerd, 2006. "Land Inequality and Economic Growth: A Dynamic Panel Data Approach," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25582, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  13. Bobrow-Strain, Aaron, 2004. "(Dis)Accords: The Politics of Market-Assisted Land Reforms in Chiapas, Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 887-903, June.

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