Project Coordinator: Klaus Deininger
Land Tenure | Land Markets | Land Reform | Policy Research Report | Documents
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.
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.
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.
|World Bank Policy Research Working Papers|
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The following policy research working papers are drawn from the World Bank's institutional archives. Each link opens a page with an abstract of the document and several download options. Search all Working Papers