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Property Rights for Poverty Reduction?


  • Ruth Meinzen-Dick


This paper reviews the links between property rights and poverty reduction. Poor people not only lack current income, but also assets with which to generate incomes. Billions of poor people have access to land which may not be legally recognized. While legislation may provide more secure land tenure for the poor and thus reduce poverty, this outcome is not guaranteed. Policies that do not recognize the complexity of property rights have backfired, reducing poor people’s security of tenure. Finally, understanding legal pluralism can lead to more effective policies and interventions to strengthen poor people’s control over assets.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruth Meinzen-Dick, 2009. "Property Rights for Poverty Reduction?," Working Papers 91, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
  • Handle: RePEc:une:wpaper:91

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela, ed. & Di Gregorio, Monica, ed., 2004. "Collective action and property rights for sustainable development:," 2020 vision focus 11, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Deininger, Klaus & Ali, Daniel Ayalew & Holden, Stein & Zevenbergen, Jaap, 2008. "Rural Land Certification in Ethiopia: Process, Initial Impact, and Implications for Other African Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1786-1812, October.
    3. Carmen Diana Deere & Cheryl Doss, 2006. "The Gender Asset Gap: What Do We Know And Why Does It Matter?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1-2), pages 1-50.
    4. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2001. "Land, trees, and women: evolution of land tenure institutions in Western Ghana and Sumatra," Research reports 121, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Cheryl Doss, 2006. "The Effects of Intrahousehold Property Ownership on Expenditure Patterns in Ghana," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 149-180, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kumar, Neha & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2011. "Gendered impacts of the 2007-08 food price crisis: Evidence using panel data from rural Ethiopia," IFPRI discussion papers 1093, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Karim, Azreen, 2016. "The household response to persistent natural disasters: Evidence from Bangladesh," Working Paper Series 4968, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:103:y:2018:i:c:p:40-59 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Poverty reduction; property rights.;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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