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The Political Economy of Rural Property Rights and the Persistence of the Dual Economy

  • Fergusson, Leopoldo

If property rights in land are so beneficial, why are they not adopted more widely? I propose a theory based on the idea that limited property rights over peasants' plots may be supported by elite landowners (who depend on peasants for labour) to achieve two goals. First, like other distortions such as taxation, limited property rights reduce peasants' income from their own plots, generating a cheap labour force. Second, and unlike taxation, they force peasants to remain in the rural sector to protect their property, even if job opportunities appear in the urban sector. The theory identifies conditions under which weak property rights institutions emerge, providing a specific mechanism for the endogenous persistence of inefficient rural institutions as development unfolds. It also predicts a non-monotonic relationship between the quality of rural property rights and land in the hands of peasants.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/146455
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Paper provided by Universidad de Los Andes, Economics Department in its series Documentos CEDE Series with number 146455.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ags:ulaedd:146455
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  1. Jacoby, Hanan G. & Li, Guo & Rozelle, Scott, 2002. "Hazards Of Expropriation:Tenure Insecurity And Investment In Rural China," Working Papers 11960, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
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  9. repec:bla:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:143-179 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Richard Hornbeck, 2010. "Barbed Wire: Property Rights and Agricultural Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 767-810, May.
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  12. Banerjee, Abhijit & Newman, Andrew F, 1998. "Information, the Dual Economy, and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 631-53, October.
  13. Konstantin Sonin, 2003. "Why the Rich May Favor Poor Protection of Property Rights," Working Papers w0022, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  14. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1993. "Power, distortions, revolt, and reform in agricultural land relations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1164, The World Bank.
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  16. Erica Field, 2007. "Entitled to Work: Urban Property Rights and Labor Supply in Peru," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1561-1602, November.
  17. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
  18. Hans P. Binswanger & Klaus Deininger, 1997. "Explaining Agricultural and Agrarian Policies in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1958-2005, December.
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  20. Tasso Adamopoulos, 2008. "Land Inequality and the Transition to Modern Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 257-282, April.
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  22. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus, 1993. "South African land policy: The legacy of history and current options," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(9), pages 1451-1475, September.
  23. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-37, October.
  24. Fenske, James, 2011. "Land tenure and investment incentives: Evidence from West Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 137-156, July.
  25. Deininger, Klaus & Binswanger, Hans, 1999. "The Evolution of the World Bank's Land Policy: Principles, Experience, and Future Challenges," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 247-76, August.
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