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Measuring the Poverty Reduction Potential of Land in Rural Mexico

  • Finan, Frederico
  • Sadoulet, Elisabeth
  • de Janvry, Alain

While access to land is back high on the policy agenda as an instrument to attack poverty, strong reservations have been expressed as to whether this strategy can indeed be effective. To help shed light on this important debate, this paper establishes the conditions under which access to land can help reduce poverty in rural communities where poverty is extensive. We use for this purpose household data gathered in 1997 by the Mexican Program for Education, Health, and Nutrition. Results show that access to even a small plot of land can raise household welfare significantly: Using non-parametric regression methods to estimate the relationship between land and welfare, we find that, for small landholders, an additional hectare of land increases welfare on average by 1.3 times the earnings of an agricultural worker. In addition, the marginal welfare value of land depends importantly on a household’s control over complementary assets and on the context where assets are used: For non-indigenous small farmers with at least primary education and access to a road, the welfare benefit of additional land is on average seven times higher than for those without these attributes.

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Paper provided by Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series with number qt6xg1q0dg.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt6xg1q0dg
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  1. Cliff Attfield & Sonia R Bhalotra, 1998. "Intrahousehold Resource Allocation in Rural Pakistan: A Semi-parametric Analysis," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 11, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  2. Jan Willem Gunning & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey & Trudy Owens, 1999. "Revisiting forever gained: income dynamics in the resettlement areas of Zimbabwe," CSAE Working Paper Series 1999-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. Bouis, Howarth E. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 1990. "Effects of agricultural commercialization on land tenure, household resource allocation, and nutrition in the Philippines:," Research reports 79, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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  7. 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.
  8. Janvry, Alain de & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2001. "Income Strategies Among Rural Households in Mexico: The Role of Off-farm Activities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 467-480, March.
  9. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, March.
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  12. Reardon, Thomas & Berdegue, Julio & Escobar, German, 2001. "Rural Nonfarm Employment and Incomes in Latin America: Overview and Policy Implications," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 395-409, March.
  13. Neil McCulloch & Bob Baulch, 2000. "Simulating the Impact of Policy upon Chronic and Transitory Poverty in Rural Pakistan," Econometrics 0004003, EconWPA.
  14. Carter, Michael R. & Mesbah, Dina, 1993. "Can land market reform mitigate the exclusionary aspects of rapid agro-export growth?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 1085-1100, July.
  15. Christiaan Grootaert & Ravi Kanbur & Gi-Taik Oh, 1997. "The dynamics of welfare gains and losses: An African case study," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(5), pages 635-657.
  16. Jan Willem Gunning & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey & Trudy Owens, 2000. "Revisiting forever gained: Income dynamics in the resettlement areas of Zimbabwe, 1983-96," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 131-154.
  17. Neil McCulloch & Bob Baulch, 2000. "Simulating the impact of policy upon chronic and transitory poverty in rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 100-130.
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