Article | Journal of Development Economics

Evolution of Land Distribution in West Bengal 1967–2004: Role of Land Reform and Demographic Changes

by Pranab Bardhan, Michael Luca, Dilip Mookherjee and Francisco Pino

Abstract

This paper studies how land reform and population growth affect land inequality and landlessness, focusing particularly on indirect effects owing to their influence on household divisions and land market transactions. Theoretical predictions of a model of household division and land transactions are successfully tested using household panel data from West Bengal spanning 1967–2004. The tenancy reform lowered inequality through its effects on household divisions and land market transactions, but its effect was quantitatively dominated by inequality-raising effects of population growth. The land distribution program lowered landlessness, but this was partly offset by targeting failures and induced increases in immigration.

Keywords: inequality; land reform; household division; land markets; Equality and Inequality; Residency Characteristics; Property; Household Characteristics; West Bengal;

Citation:

Bardhan, Pranab, Michael Luca, Dilip Mookherjee, and Francisco Pino. "Evolution of Land Distribution in West Bengal 1967–2004: Role of Land Reform and Demographic Changes." Journal of Development Economics 110 (September 2014): 171–190.