Land Reform And Farm Productivity In West Bengal
We revisit the classical question of productivity implications of sharecropping tenancy, in the context of tenancy reforms (Operation Barga) in West Bengal, India studied previously by Banerjee, Gertler and Ghatak (JPE 2002). We utilize a disaggregated farm panel, controlling for other land reforms, agriculture input supply services, infrastructure spending of local governments, and potential endogeneity of land reform implementation. We continue to find significant positive effects of lagged village tenancy registration rates. But the direct effects on tenant farms are overshadowed by spillover effects on non-tenant farms. The effects of tenancy reform are also dominated by those of input supply programs and irrigation expenditures of local governments. These results indicate the effects of the tenancy reform cannot be interpreted as reduction of Marshall-Mill sharecropping distortions alone; village-wide impacts of land reforms and agricultural input supply programs administered by local governments deserve greater attention.
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