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Evaluating the impact of a targeted land distribution program: Evidence from Vietnam

Author

Listed:
  • Dwayne Benjamin
  • Loren Brandt
  • Brian McCaig
  • Nguyen Le Hoa

Abstract

In this paper we estimate the impact of a land reform program in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. In 2002, Program 132 directed the transfer of farm land to ethnic minority households that had less than one hectare of land. Using the 2002 Vietnam Living Standards Survey as a baseline, in 2007 we resurveyed over one thousand households to provide a retrospective evaluation of the impact of their participation in Program 132. We supplemented the household-level panel with commune and district-level surveys as well as local interviews in order to better understand the details of program implementation. Contrary to official reports that the program was implemented as intended, our findings show that there was considerable deviation from the planned program parameters: Many eligible households did not receive land, while ineligible households often did. We estimate that beneficiaries of the program in the province of Kontum experienced increases of household income largely in line with what one would expect from a small plot of poor farm land. Outside Kontum, where participation rates were substantially lower, household incomes did not improve with program participation, though this could be explained by lags in the maturation of perennial crops. Overall, our results underscore the limitations of simple transfers of land as a mechanism for improving the living standards of ethnic minorities. Our results also show the significant gap that can exist between simple program design and decentralized implementation, the potential implications of which we discuss for program evaluation.

Suggested Citation

  • Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & Brian McCaig & Nguyen Le Hoa, 2012. "Evaluating the impact of a targeted land distribution program: Evidence from Vietnam," Working Papers tecipa-461, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-461
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    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-461.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Instruments, Randomization, and Learning about Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 424-455, June.
    2. Martin Ravallion & Dominique van de Walle, 2008. "Land in Transition : Reform and Poverty in Rural Vietnam," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6433, June.
    3. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_instruments_randomization_learning_all_04april_2010 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bob Baulch & Hung T. Pham & Barry Reilly, 2012. "Decomposing the Ethnic Gap in Rural Vietnam, 1993--2004," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 87-117, June.
    5. Bob Baulch & Truong Thi Kim Chuyen & Dominique Haughton & Jonathan Haughton, 2007. "Ethnic minority development in Vietnam," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(7), pages 1151-1176.
    6. van de Walle, Dominique & Gunewardena, Dileni, 2001. "Sources of ethnic inequality in Viet Nam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 177-207, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Deininger & Songqing Jin & Yanyan Liu & Sudhir K. Singh, 2018. "Can Labor-Market Imperfections Explain Changes in the Inverse Farm Size–Productivity Relationship? Longitudinal Evidence from Rural India," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 94(2), pages 239-258.
    2. Klaus Deininger & Songqing Jin & Yanyan Liu & Sudhir K Singh, 2016. "Can Labor Market Imperfections Explain Changes in the Inverse Farm Size–Productivity Relationship? Longitudinal Evidence from Rural India," Working Papers id:10987, eSocialSciences.
    3. IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute, 2016. "Can Labour Market Imperfections Explain Changes in the Inverse Farm Size-Productivity Relationship?: Longitudinal Evidence from Rural India," Working Papers id:11007, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Land Reform; Vietnam; Ethnic Minorities; Program Evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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