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Land inequality and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

  • Albuquerque Sant'Anna, André

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the relationship between land inequality and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Therefore, it is developed an occupational choice model where an individual decides whether to become a farmer in an already established place or to move in search of economic opportunities and land to clear at the agricultural frontier. This model provides theoretical predictions that are tested empirically. Based on data from 515 municipalities, this paper estimates a Tobit model in order to test the theoretical predictions. Basically, it has been shown that there is little statistical evidence to support the existence of a direct relationship between land inequality and deforestation. Nevertheless, when one takes into account the effects of land inequality on deforestation through its interaction with credit and land reform policies, it can be shown that the pattern of land distribution, indeed, plays a role for deforestation. There is a positive relationship between credit and deforestation in more unequal places. Furthermore, this paper provides evidence that land reform in more unequal municipalities reduces deforestation. Hence, it is clear that there is a role for government to increase social welfare and reduce deforestation rates.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/43793/1/MPRA_paper_43793.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 43793.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision: Dec 2012
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43793
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  1. Jonathan Conning & James A. Robinson, 2005. "Property Rights and the Political Organization of Agriculture," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 405, Hunter College Department of Economics.
  2. Angelsen, Arild, 1999. "Agricultural expansion and deforestation: modelling the impact of population, market forces and property rights," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 185-218, February.
  3. Takasaki, Yoshito & Barham, Bradford L. & Coomes, Oliver T., 2000. "Wealth Accumulation and Activity Choice Evolution Among Amazonian Forest Peasant Households," Staff Paper Series 434, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  4. Alston, Lee J. & Libecap, Gary D. & Mueller, Bernardo, 1999. "A model of rural conflict: violence and land reform policy in Brazil," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 135-160, May.
  5. Hotte, Louis, 2001. "Conflicts over property rights and natural-resource exploitation at the frontier," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-21, October.
  6. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  7. Assuncao, Juliano J. & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2003. "Can unobserved heterogeneity in farmer ability explain the inverse relationship between farm size and productivity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 189-194, August.
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