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Evolution of Land Distribution in West Bengal 1967-2004: Role of Land Reform and Demographic Changes

  • Pranab Bardhan

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Michael Luca

    ()

    (Harvard Business School, Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit)

  • Dilip Mookherjee

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Francisco Pino

    (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

This paper studies how land reform and population growth affect land inequality and landlessness, focusing particularly on indirect effects owing to their influence on household divisions and land market transactions. Theoretical predictions of a model of household division and land transactions are successfully tested using household panel data from West Bengal spanning 1967-2004. The tenancy reform lowered inequality through its effects on household divisions and land market transactions, but its effect was quantitatively dominated by inequality-raising effects of population growth. The land distribution program lowered landlessness but this was partly offset by targeting failures and induced increases in immigration.

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Paper provided by Harvard Business School in its series Harvard Business School Working Papers with number 14-066.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:14-066
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  1. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Pro-Poor Targeting and Accountability of Local Governments in West Bengal," Working Papers id:773, eSocialSciences.
  2. Pranab Bardhan, 2004. "Scarcity, Conflicts, and Cooperation: Essays in the Political and Institutional Economics of Development," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524295, June.
  3. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Paul J. Gertler & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2002. "Empowerment and Efficiency: Tenancy Reform in West Bengal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 239-280, April.
  4. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 1998. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction and Growth: Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 13, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Lambais, Guilherme B. R., 2008. "Land Reform in Brazil: the arrival of the market model," MPRA Paper 25446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Abhijit Banerjee & Dilip Mookherjee & Kaivan Munshi & Debraj Ray, 2001. "Inequality, Control Rights, and Rent Seeking: Sugar Cooperatives in Maharashtra," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 138-190, February.
  7. Besley, Timothy & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2010. "Property Rights and Economic Development," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  8. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip & Kumar, Neha, 2012. "State-led or market-led green revolution? Role of private irrigation investment vis-a-vis local government programs in West Bengal's farm productivity growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 222-235.
  9. Catherine Guirkinger & Jean-Philippe Platteau, 2011. "Transformation of the Family under Rising Land Pressure: A Theoretical Essay," Working Papers 1108, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2011. "Subsidized Farm Input Programs and Agricultural Performance: A Farm-Level Analysis of West Bengal's Green Revolution, 1982-1995," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 186-214, October.
  12. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 2002. "Household Division and Rural Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 839-69, October.
  13. Catherine Guirkinger & Jean-Philippe Platteau, 2011. "The Effect of Land Scarcity on Farm Structure: Empirical Evidence from Mali," Working Papers 1109, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  14. Rawal, Vikas, 2001. "Agrarian Reform and Land Markets: A Study of Land Transactions in Two Villages of West Bengal, 1977-1995," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(3), pages 611-29, April.
  15. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1986. "Access to Capital and Agrarian Production Organisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 482-98, June.
  16. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2010. "Determinants of Redistributive Politics: An Empirical Analysis of Land Reforms in West Bengal, India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1572-1600, September.
  17. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Jessica Leight & Vijayendra Rao, 2011. "The regulation of land markets: evidence from tenancy reform in India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58204, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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