The Welfare Impact of Land Distribution: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Initiative in Malawi

30 Pages Posted: 1 May 2014

See all articles by Mariapia Mendola

Mariapia Mendola

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for European Studies (CefES)

Franklin Simtowe

President; African Centre for Social Research and Economic Development (ACSRED)

Date Written: April 1, 2014

Abstract

Even though land reform may be an effective means of reducing poverty, evidence on its causal effects is scant. This paper uses household panel data combined with a quasi experimental program to assess the impact of a joint Malawi/World Bank land redistribution project on households’ productivity and well-being in southern Malawi. Double difference and matching methods are used to address sources of bias in identifying impacts. Results point to average positive effects of the land program on land holdings, agricultural output, income, food security and asset ownership of beneficiary households, while the latter do not see an improvement in access to social services such as schools and health care facilities. There is also evidence of heterogeneous effects by gender and inheritance systems. Overall, our findings suggest that there is scope for reducing poverty and inequality in developing countries by implementing a market- and community-based approach to land reform through the provision of land to land-poor households.

Keywords: Land Reform, Program Evaluation, Community Based Rural Land Development

JEL Classification: O13, Q15

Suggested Citation

Mendola, Mariapia and Simtowe, Franklin Peter, The Welfare Impact of Land Distribution: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Initiative in Malawi (April 1, 2014). Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano Development Studies Working Paper No. 366. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2431207 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2431207

Mariapia Mendola (Contact Author)

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Franklin Peter Simtowe

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