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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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Length: Unknown pages
Date of creation: 04 Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-509
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  1. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
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  8. Tasso Adamopoulos, 2006. "Transportation Costs, Agricultural Productivity and Cross-Country Income Differences," 2006 Meeting Papers 663, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  18. Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 2001. "Land institutions and land markets," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 288-331 Elsevier.
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