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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. Besley, Timothy & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2010. "Property Rights and Economic Development," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  2. 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.
  3. Besley, Timothy J. & Leight, Jessica & Pande, Rohini & Rao, Vijayendra, 2012. "The Regulation of Land Markets: Evidence from Tenancy Reform in India," CEPR Discussion Papers 8736, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Pro-Poor Targeting and Accountability of Local Governments in West Bengal," Working Papers id:773, eSocialSciences.
  8. 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.
  9. Catherine Guirkinger & Jean-Philippe Platteau, 2014. "The Effect of Land Scarcity on Farm Structure: Empirical Evidence from Mali," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(2), pages 195 - 238.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Lambais, Guilherme B. R., 2008. "Land Reform in Brazil: the arrival of the market model," MPRA Paper 25446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1986. "Access to Capital and Agrarian Production Organisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 482-98, June.
  15. repec:oup:restud:v:69:y:2002:i:4:p:839-69 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. 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.
  17. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:2:p:389-430 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. 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.
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