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Robin Hood's Compromise: The Economics of Moderate Land Reforms


  • Bandiera Oriana

    () (LSE)

  • Levy Gilat

    () (LSE)


This paper analyses the consequences of an unusual type of land redistribution; we take land from the very rich, as usual, but give it to the rich instead of the poor. We show that such "moderate" reform reduces agency costs and thereby increases productivity, total surplus in the economy, and the welfare of rural workers. Compared to the classic redistribution "to the tiller", moderate reforms do worse in terms of equity and do not give the poor a collaterizable asset. They can however do equally well in terms of efficiency and might be more sustainable both financially and politically.

Suggested Citation

  • Bandiera Oriana & Levy Gilat, 2004. "Robin Hood's Compromise: The Economics of Moderate Land Reforms," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-25, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.3:y:2004:i:1:n:19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dasgupta, Partha & Ray, Debraj, 1987. "Inequality as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Unemployment: Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(385), pages 177-188, March.
    2. Shaban, Radwan Ali, 1987. "Testing between Competing Models of Sharecropping," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 893-920, October.
    3. Bell, Clive, 1990. "Reforming Property Rights in Land and Tenancy," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 5(2), pages 143-166, July.
    4. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction, and Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 389-430.
    5. Dasgupta, Partha & Ray, Debraj, 1986. "Inequality as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Unemployment: Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1011-1034, December.
    6. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    7. Abhijit Banerjee, 1999. "Land Reforms: Prospects and Strategies," Working papers 99-24, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics


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