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Caste Discrimination, Land Reforms and Land Market Performance in Nepal

  • Aryal, Jeetendra P.

    (Department of Economics and Resource Management)

  • Holden, Stein T.


    (Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB))

This paper assesses the implications of caste discrimination and past land reforms on the land rental market performance, land productivity and land use intensity in Nepal. The most severely discriminated group in the caste system is the Dalits, the so-called “untouchables”. Dalits faced religious, occupational and even, territorial discrimination. The study uses data from western Nepal. The low-caste households remain poorer than other households, have significantly smaller land endowments, and have poorer access to off-farm employment. They access additional land through the land rental market but the past “Land-to-the-tiller” policies have had the unintended effect of reducing their land access even though they have significantly higher land productivity than high-caste households. Many high-caste households prefer to rent out their land to other (less productive) high-caste households out of fear of losing their land if they rent it out to low-caste households. Imperfections in land and labor markets contribute to enhance the inverse farm size-productivity relationship. A new type of tenure reform is needed that enhances tenure security and land redistribution through voluntary land market transactions

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Paper provided by Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences in its series CLTS Working Papers with number 1/11.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nlsclt:2011_001
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Aas, Norway
Phone: (+47) 6496 5700
Fax: (+47) 6494 3012
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  1. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing & Nagarajan, Hari K., 2007. "Determinants and consequences of land sales market participation : panel evidence from India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4323, The World Bank.
  2. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing & Nagarajan, Hari K., 2007. "Efficiency and equity impacts of rural land rental restrictions : evidence from India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4324, The World Bank.
  3. Otsuka, Keijiro & Chuma, Hiroyuki & Hayami, Yujiro, 1992. "Land and Labor Contracts in Agrarian Economies: Theories and Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 1965-2018, December.
  4. Ram Acharya & Robert Ekelund, 1998. "Mixed and pure sharecropping in Nepal: empirical evidence supporting the traditional hypothesis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 37-50.
  5. Kung, James Kai-sing, 2002. "Off-Farm Labor Markets and the Emergence of Land Rental Markets in Rural China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 395-414, June.
  6. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing, 2005. "The potential of land rental markets in the process of economic development: Evidence from China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 241-270, October.
  7. Aryal, Jeetendra P. & Holden, Stein T., 2011. "Caste, Land and Labor Market Imperfections, and Land Productivity in Rural Nepal," CLTS Working Papers 6/11, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
  8. Ravi Bhandari, 2007. "The role of social distance in sharecropping efficiency: The case of two rice-growing villages in Nepal," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 34(4), pages 290-310, September.
  9. Jin, Songqing & Deininger, Klaus, 2009. "Land rental markets in the process of rural structural transformation: Productivity and equity impacts from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 629-646, December.
  10. Banerjee, Biswajit & Knight, J. B., 1985. "Caste discrimination in the Indian urban labour market," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 277-307, April.
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