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Land Reform and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis with Micro Data

  • Tasso Adamopoulos
  • Diego Restuccia

We assess the effects of a major land-policy change on farm size and agricultural productivity using a quantitative model and micro-level data. We study the 1988 land reform in the Philippines that imposed a ceiling on land holdings and severely restricted the transferability of the redistributed farm lands. We study this reform in the context of an industry model of agriculture with a non-degenerate distribution of farm sizes featuring an occupation decision and a technology choice of farm operators. In this model, a land reform reduces agricultural productivity not only by reallocating resources from large/high productivity farms to existing small/low productivity farms (misallocation effect), but also by distorting farmers' occupation and technology adoption decisions (selection effect). The model, calibrated to pre-reform farm-level data in the Philippines, implies that on impact the land reform reduces average farm size by 34 percent and agricultural productivity by 17 percent. The government assignment of land and the ban on its transfer are key for the magnitude of the results since a market allocation of the above-ceiling land produces only 1/3 of the size and productivity effects. These results emphasize the potential role of land market efficiency for misallocation and productivity in the agricultural sector.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-509.

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Date of creation: 04 Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-509
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  1. Tasso Adamopoulos, 2006. "Transportation Costs, Agricultural Productivity and Cross-Country Income Differences," 2006 Meeting Papers 663, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Hans P. Binswanger-Mkhize & Camille Bourguignon & Rogier van den Brink, 2009. "Agricultural Land Redistribution : Toward Greater Consensus," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2653.
  3. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448, November.
  4. Adriano, Lourdes S., 1991. "A General Assessment of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program," Working Papers WP 1991-13, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  5. Mariapia Mendola & Franklin Simtowe, 2013. "The Welfare Impact of Land Redistribution: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Initiative in Malawi," Working Papers 227, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2013.
  6. Foster, Lucia & Haltiwanger, John C. & Syverson, Chad, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," IZA Discussion Papers 1705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1998. "Land institutions and land markets," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2014, The World Bank.
  8. Tasso Adamopoulos & Diego Restuccia, 2013. "The Size Distribution of Farms and International Productivity Differences," Working Papers tecipa-494, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  9. Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Stanley L. Engerman, 2000. "Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 217-232, Summer.
  10. Todd Schoellman & Berthold Herrendorf, 2012. "Why is Measured Productivity so Low in Agriculture?," 2012 Meeting Papers 75, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "The Agricultural Productivity Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 939-993.
  12. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea, 1985. "Farm size, land yields and the agricultural production function: An analysis for fifteen developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 513-534, April.
  13. Saturnino M. Borras, 2003. "Inclusion-exclusion in public policies and policy analyses: the case of Philippine land reform, 1972-2002," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(8), pages 1049-1065.
  14. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:2:p:939-993. is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Tasso Adamopoulos, 2008. "Land Inequality and the Transition to Modern Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 257-282, April.
  16. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6751, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Carter, Michael R, 1984. "Identification of the Inverse Relationship between Farm Size and Productivity: An Empirical Analysis of Peasant Agricultural Production," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 131-45, March.
  18. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2013. "Misallocation and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 1-10, January.
  19. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2007. "Land Reform And Farm Productivity In West Bengal," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-163, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  20. Gollin, Douglas & Parente, Stephen L. & Rogerson, Richard, 2000. "Farm Work, Home Work And International Productivity Differences," 2000 Annual meeting, July 30-August 2, Tampa, FL 21797, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  21. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2013. "The Agricultural Productivity Gap," NBER Working Papers 19628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Paul J. Gertler & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2002. "Empowerment and Efficiency: Tenancy Reform in West Bengal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 239-280, April.
  23. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph Kaboski & Yongseok Shin, 2009. "Finance and Development: A Tale of Two Sectors," NBER Working Papers 14914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2014. "Finance and Misallocation: Evidence from Plant-Level Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(2), pages 422-58, February.
  25. Diego Restuccia & Dennis Tao Yang & Xiaodong Zhu, 2003. "Agriculture and Aggregate Productivity: A Quantitative Cross-Country Analysis," Working Papers diegor-03-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  26. Guner, Nezih & Ventura, Gustavo & Xu, Yi (Daniel), 2007. "Macroeconomic Implications of Size-Dependent Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 6138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 1998. "Land reform, poverty reduction and growth : evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2018, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  28. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," NBER Working Papers 13018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2013. "Selection, Agriculture, and Cross-Country Productivity Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 948-80, April.
  30. Michael Maio & James Schmitz & Arilton Teixeira & Benjamin Bridgman, 2011. "Why Has Puerto Rico Performed So Poorly? Lessons from its Sugar Manufacturing Industry," 2011 Meeting Papers 1048, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  31. Maitreesh Ghatak & Sanchari Roy, 2007. "Land reform and agricultural productivity in India: a review of the evidence," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 251-269, Summer.
  32. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "Agricultural Productivity Differences across Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 165-70, May.
  33. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
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