The Welfare Impact of Land Redistribution: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Initiative in Malawi
Even though land reform may be an effective means of reducing poverty, evidence on its causal effects is scant. This paper uses household panel data combined with a quasi- experimental program to assess the impact of a joint Malawi/World Bank land redistribution project on households’ productivity and well-being in southern Malawi. Double difference and matching methods are used to address sources of selection bias in identifying impacts. Results point to average positive effects of the land program on land holdings, agricultural output, income, food security and asset ownership of beneficiary households. Yet, beneficiaries do not see an improvement in access to social services such as schools and health facilities. There is also evidence of heterogeneous effects by gender and inheritance systems. Overall, our findings suggest that there is scope for reducing poverty and inequality in developing countries by implementing a decentralized, community-based, voluntary approach to land reform through the provision of land to land-poor households.
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|Date of revision:||Feb 2013|
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