The case against the case for land reform: transaction costs and misplaced exogeneity
The paper reviews the pros and cons of land reform with particular attention to the Philippines. We find a repeated theme in supporting arguments for land-to-the-tiller reform and the outlawing of share tenancy: that land reform will improve efficiency by lowering transaction costs. We show that this is logically incorrect and fails to draw appropriate lessons from the evidence. More generally, the arguments for land reform suffer from misplaced exogeneity, in particular by implicitly regarding farm size and organizational form as exogenous.
JEL classification: O13, R52
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