A Model of Rural Conflict: Violence and Land Reform Policy in Brazil

Environment and Development Economics, Vol. 4, 1999

Posted: 14 Dec 1999

See all articles by Lee J. Alston

Lee J. Alston

Ostrom Workshop; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Bernardo Mueller

Universidade de Brasilia

Gary D. Libecap

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management; University of Arizona - Karl Eller Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Abstract

In this paper we analyze the underlying determinants of rural land conflicts in Brazil involving squatters, landowners, the federal government, the courts and INCRA, the land reform agency. We present a model where squatters and landowners strategically choose to engage in violence to advance their aims. Landowners use violence as a means of increasing the likelihood of successful eviction of squatters, and squatters use violence to increase the probability that the farm will be expropriated in their favor as part of the government?s land reform program. We test the model?s predictions using state-level data for Brazil for 22 states from 1988 through 1995 that we have assembled. The tests reveal that the government?s land reform policy, which is based on expropriation and settlement projects, paradoxically may be encouraging both of the major antagonists to engage in more violence, rather than reducing conflicts. If true, the existing land reform policy should be reconsidered because it is in conflict with the government?s efforts to reduce violent land disputes.

Note: This is a description of the paper and is not the actual abstract.

JEL Classification: O18

Suggested Citation

Alston, Lee J. and Mueller, Bernardo and Libecap, Gary D., A Model of Rural Conflict: Violence and Land Reform Policy in Brazil. Environment and Development Economics, Vol. 4, 1999 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=196190

Lee J. Alston (Contact Author)

Ostrom Workshop ( email )

513 N. Park Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47408–3895
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ostromworkshop.indiana.edu/alston/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bernardo Mueller

Universidade de Brasilia ( email )

Dept. de Economia
Universidade de Brasilia
Brasilia, DF 70910-900
Brazil
55 61 981110349 (Phone)
55 61 3349-1303 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://bpmmueller.wixsite.com/bernardo-mueller

Gary D. Libecap

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management ( email )

4670 Physical Sciences North
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131
United States
805-893-8611 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.esm.ucsb.edu/people/usernew.asp?user=glibecap

University of Arizona - Karl Eller Center ( email )

McClelland Hall
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
520-621-4821 (Phone)
520-626-5269 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bpa.arizona.edu/~libecap

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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