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Land Reform and the Political Organization of Agriculture

The modern theory of agrarian organization has studied how the economic environment determines organizational form under the assumption of stable property rights to land. The political economy literature has modelled the endogenous determination of property rights. In this paper we propose a model in which the economic organization of agriculture and the political equilibrium determining the distribution of property rights are jointly determined. In particular, because the form of organization may affect the probability and distribution of beneÞts from agrarian reform, it may be determined in anticipation of this impact. The model offers a reason for why tenancy, despite its economic advantages has been so little used in countries where agrarian reform is a salient political issue. We argue that this in particular helps to understand the dearth of tenancy and the relative failure of land reform in Latin America.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2001-10.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in Journal of Development Economics, March 2007, v. 82, iss. 2, pp. 416-47
Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2001-10
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  1. Moene, Karl Ove, 1992. "Poverty and Landownership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 52-64, March.
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  8. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
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  11. Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 1996. "Wealth Effects, Distribution, and the Theory of Organization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 312-341, August.
  12. Jeon, Yoong-Deok & Kim, Young-Yong, 2000. "Land Reform, Income Redistribution, and Agricultural Production in Korea," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 253-68, January.
  13. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  15. Bourguignon, F. & Verdier, T., 1997. "Oligarchy, Democracy, Inequality and Growth," DELTA Working Papers 97-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  16. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction, And Growth: Evidence From India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 389-430, May.
  17. Jonathan Conning, 2002. "Latifundia Economics," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 02/1, Hunter College Department of Economics.
  18. Baland, Jean-Marie & Robinson, James A, 2003. "Land and Power," CEPR Discussion Papers 3800, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. 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.
  20. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1973. "Incentives and Risk-Sharing in Sharecropping," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 353, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  21. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  22. Dixit, Avinash K & Londregan, John, 1994. "The Determinants of Success of Special Interests in Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 1054, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Grossman, Herschel I, 1994. "Production, Appropriation, and Land Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 705-12, June.
  24. de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1989. "A study in resistance to institutional change: The lost game of Latin American land reform," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(9), pages 1397-1407, September.
  25. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  26. Berry, R Albert, 1972. "Farm Size Distribution, Income Distribution, and the Efficiency of Agricultural Production: Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(2), pages 403-08, May.
  27. Deininger, Klaus & Olinto, Pedro, 2000. "Asset distribution, inequality, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2375, The World Bank.
  28. Horowitz, Andrew W, 1993. "Time Paths of Land Reform: A Theoretical Model of Reform Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 1003-10, September.
  29. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1986. "Access to Capital and Agrarian Production Organisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 482-98, June.
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