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Premature deagriculturalisation? Land inequality and rural dependency in Limpopo province, South Africa

  • Robert Eastwood
  • Johann Kirsten
  • Michael Lipton

Cross-national regressions reveal abnormally low agricultural workforce shares, given GNP, in developing countries that had historically concentrated land into large capital-intensive farms. We argue that such deagriculturalisation was premature, since its concomitant labour shedding has undesirable outcomes. In a new South African survey, a large proportion of rural households (and working-age persons) was 'dependent', relying for income almost wholly on either migrant remittances or pensions. A separate group (with less poverty and unemployment) relied mainly on local, including own-farm, income. The group was heavily over-represented in one of the three regions, where many more households had significant land.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 42 (2006)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 1325-1349

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:8:p:1325-1349
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  1. Reardon, Thomas, 1997. "Using evidence of household income diversification to inform study of the rural nonfarm labor market in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 735-747, May.
  2. Lipton, Michael, 1993. "Land reform as commenced business: The evidence against stopping," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 641-657, April.
  3. Deininger, Klaus & May, Julian, 2000. "Can there be growth with equity : an initial assessment of land reform in South Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2451, The World Bank.
  4. Deininger, Klaus & Olinto, Pedro, 2000. "Asset distribution, inequality, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2375, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. Ravallion, Martin & Sen, Binayak & DEC, 1994. "How land-based targeting affects rural poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1270, The World Bank.
  7. Hazell, P. B. R. & Roell, Ailsa, 1983. "Rural growth linkages: household expenditure patterns in Malaysia and Nigeria," Research reports 41, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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