The political economy of land reform enactments: New cross-national evidence (1900–2010)

Prasad S. Bhattacharya, Devashish Mitra, Mehmet A. Ulubaşoğlu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We construct a unique, extensive dataset that codifies 372 major land reform enactments in 165 countries during the period 1900–2010 and classifies them as those with several different motives. Exploiting the geographic and time variation in land reforms and political transitions across the globe over more than a century, we find that democratic transitions are linked with a greater likelihood of land reforms of the pro-poor type as well as those with different inequality-reducing motives. These results are robust to adding important controls, changing variable definitions, using alternative data, addressing endogeneity to the extent possible, and moving from enactments to implementations. We also estimate a positive impact of autocratic transitions on pro-poor and some inequality-reducing land reforms, but these results emerge mainly with instrumental-variables estimation. We also show that a leftward shift in the political ideology of the chief executive is associated with a higher likelihood of pro-poor land reforms as well as a few types of inequality-reducing ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-68
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Development Economics
StatePublished - Jun 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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