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The paradox of land reform, inequality and local development in Colombia

Faguet, Jean-Paul and Sanches, Fábio and Villaveces, Marta-Juanita (2016) The paradox of land reform, inequality and local development in Colombia. The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Over two centuries, Colombia transferred vast quantities of land, equivalent to the entire UK landmass, mainly to landless and poor peasants. And yet Colombia retains one of the highest concentrations of land ownership in the world. Why? We show that the effects of land reform on inequality and economic and human development were heterogeneous. On average, rural properties grew larger, land inequality and dispersion fell, and development increased across Colombia’s 1100+ municipalities between 1961-2010. But pre-existing inequality counteracts these effects, resulting in smaller rural properties, greater dispersion, and lower levels of development. How? Land reform increased public investment in agriculture, raising consumption of public and private goods. But land concentration again counters these effects. Elites seem to have distorted local decision-making to benefit themselves. We conclude that land reform’s second-order effects, on the distribution of local power, are more important than its first-order effects on the distribution of land.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/internationalDevelopment/home...
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
JEL classification: H - Public Economics > H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue > H27 - Other Sources of Revenue
N - Economic History > N1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Growth and Fluctuations > N16 - Latin America; Caribbean
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q1 - Agriculture > Q15 - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation
Sets: Departments > International Development
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2016 10:21
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2018 11:56
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/67193

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