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Poverty and Land Distribution: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

  • Keswell, Malcolm
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    While land reforms have long been motivated as a potential policy lever of rural growth and development, there is remarkably little evidence of the direct impacts of such reforms. In an effort to fill this lacunae, this paper examines South Africa's Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) program. We show that the implementation of this program operates as a natural experiment in which self-selected and administratively-filltered LRAD applicants receive land transfers at random points in time. This random exit from the application pipeline creates creates exogenous variation in treatment assignment as well as treatment duration. Exploiting both sources of exogenous variation, we estimate average and long-run treatment effects that imply a discounted gain in monthly per capita consumption of about fifty per cent after three years of exposure to the program.

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    Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number UNU-WIDER Research Paper WP2011/46.

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    Length: 34
    Date of creation: 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2011-46
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    1. King , Elizabeth M. & Behrman, Jere R., 2008. "Timing and duration of exposure in evaluations of social programs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4686, The World Bank.
    2. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1329-1372, November.
    3. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    4. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1995. "Power, distortions, revolt and reform in agricultural land relations," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 42, pages 2659-2772 Elsevier.
    5. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2005. "Land Inequality and the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions," Development and Comp Systems 0502018, EconWPA.
    6. Carter, Michael R. & Zimmerman, Frederick J., 2000. "The dynamic cost and persistence of asset inequality in an agrarian economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 265-302, December.
    7. Deininger, Klaus & Olinto, Pedro, 2000. "Asset distribution, inequality, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2375, The World Bank.
    8. Ray, Debraj & Streufert, Peter A, 1993. "Dynamic Equilibria with Unemployment Due to Undernourishment," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 61-85, January.
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