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Land and Happiness: Land Distribution and Subjective Well-Being in Moldova

  • Van Landeghem, Bert
  • Swinnen, Johan F.M.
  • Vranken, Liesbet

The distribution of land rights is a very important economic and political issue, and it played a central role in the transition processes in Europe and Asia. This paper analyzes the impact of the distribution of land on household welfare by using subjective well-being (SWB) data from a rural household survey in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. The recent land reform in Moldova provides a natural experiment on the impact of land ownership distribution on SWB. We find that household land holdings have a positive effect on SWB but neighbours’ average land holdings have a negative effect on SWB. People, regardless of the land distribution and even given the relatively low living standards of these households, rate their welfare by looking at how much other people possess. The findings of the paper have more general implications as it is one of the first attempts to measure the impact of wealth, rather than income, on SWB.

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Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium with number 44375.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae08:44375
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