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Does rising landlessness signal success or failure for Vietnam's agrarian transition?

  • Ravallion, Martin
  • van de Walle, Dominique

In the wake of reforms to establish a free market in land-use rights, Vietnam is experiencing a pronounced rise in rural landlessness. To some observers this is a harmless by-product of a more efficient economy, while to others it signals the return of the pre-socialist class-structure, with the rural landless at the bottom of the economic ladder. The authors'theoretical model suggests that removing restrictions on land markets will increase landlessness among the poor, but that there will be both gainers and losers, with uncertain impacts on aggregate poverty. Empirically, they find that landlessness is less likely for the poor and that the observedrise in landlessness is poverty reducing on balance. However, there are marked regional differences, notably between the north and the south.

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

Volume (Year): 87 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 191-209

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:87:y:2008:i:2:p:191-209
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  1. Klaus Deininger & Songqing Jin, 2008. "Land Sales and Rental Markets in Transition: Evidence from Rural Vietnam," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(1), pages 67-101, 02.
  2. Dasgupta, Partha & Ray, Debraj, 1986. "Inequality as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Unemployment: Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1011-34, December.
  3. Brümmer, Bernhard & Glauben, Thomas & Lu, Wencong C., 2002. "Policy Reform and Productivity Change in Chinese Agriculture: A Distance Function Approach," 2002 International Congress, August 28-31, 2002, Zaragoza, Spain 24779, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  4. Li, Guo & Rozelle, Scott & Brandt, Loren, 1998. "Tenure, land rights, and farmer investment incentives in China," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 19(1-2), September.
  5. Dominique van de Walle & Dorothyjean Cratty, 2004. "Is the emerging non-farm market economy the route out of poverty in Vietnam?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 12(2), pages 237-274, 06.
  6. Scott Rozelle & Johan F.M. Swinnen, 2004. "Success and Failure of Reform: Insights from the Transition of Agriculture," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 404-456, June.
  7. Moene, K.O., 1990. "Poverty And Landownership," Memorandum 03/1990, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  8. Carter, Colin A. & Estrin, Andrew J., 2001. "Market Reforms Versus Structural Reforms In Rural China," Working Papers 11965, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  9. Loren Brandt & Dwayne Benjamin, 2002. "Agriculture and Income Distribution in Rural Vietnam under Economic Reforms: A Tale of Two Regions," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 519, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  10. Pingali, Prabhu L & Xuan, Vo-Tong, 1992. "Vietnam: Decollectivization and Rice Productivity Growth," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(4), pages 697-718, July.
  11. Li, Guo & Rozelle, Scott & Brandt, Loren, 1998. "Tenure, land rights, and farmer investment incentives in China," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 63-71, September.
  12. Glewwe, Paul & Jacoby, Hanan G., 2004. "Economic growth and the demand for education: is there a wealth effect?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 33-51, June.
  13. Fleisher, Belton M. & Wang, Xiaojun, 2004. "Skill differentials, return to schooling, and market segmentation in a transition economy: the case of Mainland China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 315-328, February.
  14. Martin Ravallion & Dominique van de Walle, 2004. "Breaking up the collective farms," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 12(2), pages 201-236, 06.
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