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Policy Research Report: Land Policies for Growth and Poverty Reduction (2003)

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Report also available
in French, Russian,
Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Strengthening poor people's land rights and easing barriers to land transactions can set in motion a wide range of social and economic benefits including improved governance, empowerment of women and other marginalized people, increased private investment, and more rapid economic growth and poverty reduction, according to a 2003 World Bank report, Land Policies for Growth and Poverty Reduction.

Land policies are at the root of social conflicts in countries as diverse as Cambodia and Colombia, Zimbabwe and Cote d'Ivoire. Political controversies, the complexity of land issues, and the fact that benefits of policy improvements accrue to people who are politically weak all hinder reform. As a result, festering land issues slow poverty reduction in many developing countries and sometimes lead to bloodshed, the report says.

Yet a growing number of countries are successfully addressing land policy issues. The report shows that countries as diverse as China, Mexico, Thailand, Uganda, and several countries in Eastern Europe, have begun to address land policy issues in ways that benefit everybody.


Land Policies for Growth and Poverty Reduction was written by Klaus Deininger in the World Bank’s Development Research Group, under the guidance and supervision of Gershon Feder. An external technical advisory committee provided critical guidance on the document. Committee members included: Michael Carter, Alain de Janvry, Gustavo Gordillo de Anda, Michael Kirk, Keijiro Otsuka, Jean-Philppe Platteau, Scott Rozelle, Elisabeth Sadoulet, and Jo Swinnen.


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