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Land reform and rural conflict: evidence from 1930s Spain

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  • Basco Mascaro, Sergi
  • Domènech Feliu, Jordi
  • Maravall Buckwalter, Laura

Abstract

We use a novel high-frequency, municipality-level dataset to examine the impact of land reform on rural conflict in 1930s Spain, a classical example of property rights reform in a developing economy. We distinguish between types of implementation and consider five types of conflicts: land invasions, peasant strikes, clashes, petty theft and attacks on land owner assets. By performing a differences-indifferences regression analysis, we document three main results. First, overall, land reform only increased the number of reported petty thefts, lasting around two years, followed by a reversion to pre-reform levels. Second, the effects of land reform depend on its implementation. A technical implementation was conducive, if anything, to fewer conflicts (clashes and attacks). In contrast, a more political implementation (which gave, on average, less land per peasant) increased reported petty theft sand, to a lower extent, attacks on owners'assets. Third, we provide suggestive evidence that the fall in income of settlers (the, a priori, benefficiaries) explains the increase in social conflict. Our results highlight the importance of the design and implementation of social policies, especially in the context of an agrarian economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Basco Mascaro, Sergi & Domènech Feliu, Jordi & Maravall Buckwalter, Laura, 2021. "Land reform and rural conflict: evidence from 1930s Spain," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 32377, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:32377
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Property Rights;

    JEL classification:

    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • P14 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Property Rights
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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