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Land tenure and economic development: Evidence from Vietnam

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  • Ho, Hoang-Anh

Abstract

The relationship between private property rights and economic development has been investigated by numerous cross-country studies. Nevertheless, aggregate measures of private property rights have prevented cross-country studies in general from identifying the specific institutions governing private property rights that policy reforms should consider. The present paper investigates the impact of private property rights to land on economic development in a within-country setting, exploiting the 1993 nationwide land privatization in Vietnam. Using a random sample of more than 2000 rural communes across Vietnam, our study finds that the prevalence of private land tenure has a positive and significant impact on the level of economic development, as proxied by nighttime light intensity. The magnitude of the impact, however, is sensitive to both observed and unobserved confounding factors, and overall modest. The most plausible explanations for this modest impact are the lingering insecurity that land-use certificates can be revoked by the state and the relatively high taxes and time cost of land transactions in Vietnam. These lessons are of interest not only to Vietnam with its future land reform, but also to other developing countries contemplating the privatization of agricultural land.

Suggested Citation

  • Ho, Hoang-Anh, 2021. "Land tenure and economic development: Evidence from Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:140:y:2021:i:c:s0305750x20304022
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105275
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    2. Min Zhao & Weijian Guo, 2022. "Does Land Certification Stimulate Farmers’ Entrepreneurial Enthusiasm? Evidence from Rural China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(18), pages 1-23, September.
    3. Liangzhen Zang & Yahua Wang & Jinkai Ke & Yiqing Su, 2022. "What Drives Smallholders to Utilize Socialized Agricultural Services for Farmland Scale Management? Insights from the Perspective of Collective Action," Land, MDPI, vol. 11(6), pages 1-25, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Land tenure; Privatization; Economic development; Southeast Asia; Vietnam;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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