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Dimensions of Land Inequality and Economic Development

  • Lennart Erickson
  • Dietrich Vollrath

There are several theories linking land inequality with aspects of economic development. Empirical work on these theories has attempted to establish a relationship between land inequality and institutions, financial development, and education. This research, though, has relied on measures of land inequality that capture only inequality within the class of landholders, ignoring completely the issue of landlessness. This omission raises suspicion about the usefulness of those empirical results. We use a new measure of the breadth of landholdings across the agricultural population to address this issue. We test the proposed relationships regarding land inequality and development using the new measure. The regressions fail to find significant and robust relationships between land inequality of either type and institutions or financial development. We do find that lower land inequality across agricultural populations, but not inequality within the landholding class, is associated with greater public provision of education.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 04/158.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:04/158
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  1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2005. "Land Inequality and the Origin of Divergence and Overtaking in the Growth Process: Theory and Evidence," 2005 Meeting Papers 24, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Levine, Ross, 1996. "Financial development and economic growth : views and agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1678, The World Bank.
  3. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
  4. Satyajit Chatterjee, 1991. "The effect of transitional dynamics on the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical capital accumulation model," Working Papers 91-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  6. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  7. Tsiddon, Daniel, 1992. "A Moral Hazard Trap to Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(2), pages 299-321, May.
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