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Land Policy

Project Coordinator: Klaus Deininger

 Land Tenure |  Land Markets Land ReformPolicy Research Report | Documents

Land Tenure
For most of the rural poor in developing countries, land is a main asset, the primary means for generating a livelihood and a main vehicle for investing, reducing vulnerability to shocks. and transferring wealth between generations. Public provision of well-defined and enforceable property rights to land will not only reduce the amount of resources individuals have to spend to secure land ownership but also increase their incentive to undertake investments and, if associated with improved transferability of land, the ability to obtain credit for such investment. Moreover, it can have impacts far beyond on governance. As a public service, tenure security needs to be provided at low cost and in an effective and sustainable manner. This implies that, in some cases, full formal title will not be the most desirable solution. The research on land tenure uses data generated in the context of efforts to strengthen tenure security to evaluate, to the extent possible, the outreach, cost, and effectiveness of different mechanisms for improving tenure security as well as the economic and non-economic impact of such measures. Particular emphasis is on the impact on women.

Land Markets
Even though in a hypothetical situation of perfect markets one would expect land markets to improve equity as well as efficiency, imperfections in credit and other markets that are widespread in rural areas may reduce or even overturn this beneficial effect. They would also lead to significant differences between land rental and land sales markets. Even though rigorous empirical evidence is very limited, this has historically given rise to a deep distrust of land markets as a means to help transfer land to more productive users, something that will be of increasing importance as the rural non-farm economy develops and can itself contribute to the emergence of the non-farm sector. Research in this area aims to provide empirical evidence from various settings to allow to assess the performance of land sales and rental markets, the properties of such markets and the extent to which policies could be adopted to improve their functioning, and to assess the justification, as well as the long-term impact of interventions to improve the functioning of land markets or restrictions to avoid negative implications. 

Land Reform
Theory indicates that, especially if markets are imperfect, the potential of land sales markets to redistribute land towards the poor will be limited. This has provided the conceptual basis for governments to initiate efforts at land reform in various forms and, more recently, for the Bank to support such efforts technically and in some cases also financially. The research undertaken under this component aims to evaluate the impact of different mechanisms that have been applied to bring about a redistribution of productive land internationally as well as more recent interventions aimed to redistribute land ownership. The goal is not only to draw conclusions that could help in the design of such interventions but also to compare the outreach and impact to government programs in other areas. 

Policy Research Report
A number of factors, including the considerable policy changes observed in the last decade in many parts of the world, have greatly increased the demand for policy advice in the area of land that could help countries to improve tenure security, facilitate the operation of markets, and address long-standing legacies of unequal access to productive assets by the rural poor. To respond to this demand, DECRG, in close collaboration with the Bank’s Thematic Group on Land Policy and Administration and other donors, has published in 2003 a policy research report on “Land Policy for Growth and Poverty Reduction” that succinctly summarizes existing research and provides a basis for policy advice.

Policy Research Working Papers
For more policy research working papers from the World Bank's institutional archives, search here using author’s last name, title or working paper number (“wpsxxxx”).
WPS6293Does sharecropping affect productivity and long-term investment ? evidence from West Bengal's tenancy reformsDeininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing; Yadav, Vandana2012/12
WPS6032Land fragmentation, cropland abandonment, and land market operation in AlbaniaDeininger, Klaus; Savastano, Sara; Carletto, Calogero2012/04
WPS5949Moving off the farm: Land institutions to facilitate structural transformation and agricultural productivity growth in ChinaDeininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing; Xia, Fang2012/01
WPS5864What drives the global "land rush" ?Arezki, Rabah; Deininger, Klaus; Selod, Harris2011/10
WPS5765Environmental and gender impacts of land tenure regularization in Africa : pilot evidence from RwandaAli, Daniel Ayalew; Deininger, Klaus; Goldstein, Markus2011/08
WPS5727Productivity effects of land rental markets in Ethiopia : Evidence from a matched tenant-landlord sampleDeininger, Klaus; Ali, Daniel Ayalew; Alemu, Tekie2011/07
59463Rising global interest in farmland : can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits?Deininger, Klaus; Byerlee, Derek; Lindsay, Jonathan; Norton, Andrew; Selod, Harris; Stickler, Mercedes2011/01
WPS5461General equilibrium effects of land market restrictions on labor market : evidence from wages in Sri LankaEmran, M. Shahe; Shilpi, Forhad2010/10
WPS5338Inheritance law reform and women's access to capital : evidence from India's Hindu succession actDeininger, Klaus; Goyal, Aparajita; Nagarajan, Hari2010/06
WPS5244Going digital : credit effects of land registry computerization in IndiaDeininger, Klaus; Goyal, Aparajita2010/03
WPS4442Assessing the functioning of land rental markets in EthiopiaDeininger, Klaus; Ali, Daniel Ayalew; Alemu, Tekie2007/12
WPS4448Land reforms, poverty reduction, and economic growth : evidence from IndiaDeininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing; Nagarajan, Hari K.2007/12
WPS4454Land rental markets in the process of rural structural transformation : productivity and equity impacts in ChinaDeininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing2007/12
WPS4447Securing property rights in transition: lessons from implementation of China's rural land contracting lawDeininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing2007/12
WPS4363Property rights in a very poor country : tenure insecurity and investment in EthiopiaAli, Daniel Ayalew; Dercon, Stefan; Gautam, Madhur2007/09
WPS4323Determinants and consequences of land sales market participation : panel evidence from IndiaDeininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing ; Nagarajan, Hari K.2007/08
WPS4324Efficiency and equity impacts of rural land rental restrictions : evidence from IndiaDeininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing; Nagarajan, Hari K.2007/08
WPS4218Rural land certification in Ethiopia : process, initial impact, and implications for other African countriesDeininger, Klaus; Ali, Daniel Ayalew; Holden, Stein; Zevenbergen, Jaap2007/04
WPS4125Incentives, supervision, and sharecropper productivityJacoby, Hanan G.; Mansuri, Ghazala2007/02
WPS3871Does rising landlessness signal success or failure for Vietnam's agrarian transition?Ravallion, Martin; van de Walle, Dominique2006/04
WPS3868Legal knowledge and economic development : the case of land rights in UgandaDeininger, Klaus; Ayalew, Daniel; Yamano, Takashi2006/03
WPS3826Incomplete contracts and investment : a study of land tenancy in PakistanJacoby, Hanan G.; Mansuri, Ghazala2006/02
WPS3258Comparing land reform and land markets in colombia: impacts on equity and efficiencyRaffaella Castagnini; Klaus Deininger; Maria A. Gonzalez2004/04
WPS3248Incidence and impact of land conflict in UgandaDeininger, Klaus; Castagnini, Raffaella2004/03
WPS3013Land sales and rental markets in transition - evidence from rural Viet NamDeininger, Klaus; Songqing Jin2003/04
WPS2992Market and non-market transfers of land in Ethiopia - implications for efficiency, equity, and non-farm developmentDeininger, Klaus; Songqing Jin; Adenew, Berhanu; Gebre-Selassie, Samuel; Demeke, Mulat2003/03
WPS2991Tenure security and land-related investment - evidence from EthiopiaDeininger, Klaus; Jin, Songqing; Adenew, Berhanu; Gebre-Selassie, Samuel; Nega, Berhanu2003/03
WPS2951Land allocation in Vietnam's agrarian transitionRavallion, Martin; Van der Walle, Dominique2003/01
WPS2930Land rental markets as an alternative to government reallocation? equity and efficiency considerations in the Chinese land tenure systemDeininger, Klaus; Songqing Jin2002/11
WPS2931The impact of property rights on households' investment, risk coping, and policy preferences : evidence from ChinaDeininger, Klaus; Songqing Jin2002/11
WPS2752Investment and income effects of land regularization : the case of NicaraguaDeininger, Klaus; Chamorro, Juan Sebastian2002/01
WPS2710Breaking up the collective farm : welfare outcomes of Vietnam's massive land privatizationRavallion, Martin; Van der Walle, Dominique2001/11
WPS2451Can there be growth with equity : an initial assessment of land reform in South AfricaDeininger, Klaus; May, Julian2000/09
WPS2375Asset distribution, inequality, and growthDeininger, Klaus; Olinto, Pedro2000/06
28953Redistribution, investment, and human capital accumulation: The case of agrarian reform in the PhilippinesDeininger, Klaus ; Maertens, Miet ; Olinto, Piedro2000/04
WPS2203Market versus administrative reallocation of agricultural land in a period of rapid industrializationCarter, Michael R.; Yang Yao1999/10
WPS2202Specialization without regret - transfer rights, agricultural productivity, and investment in an industrializing economyCarter, Michael R.; Yang Yao1999/10
WPS2040Making negotiated land reform work : initial experience from Brazil, Colombia, and South AfricaDeininger, Klaus1999/01
WPS2014Land institutions and land marketsDeininger, Klaus; Feder, Gershon1998/11

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