An Unintended Consequence of Historical Land Ceiling Legislations: Impact on Land Acquisition and Corporate Investment in India
47 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 15, 2017
There is a growing debate about land acquisition for infrastructure and industries in many densely populated countries. In this context, the present paper assesses the impact of the historical land ceiling legislations, largely implemented during 1960-85 to promote distributional equity, on corporate investment in India. We argue that the implementation of the land ceiling legislations had increased the transaction costs of buying land and also the price premium firms pay when acquiring land, thus inducing firms to invest less in land and capital. The detrimental ceiling effect is more pronounced when the ceiling size is more restrictive as for the most fertile land. Arguing that the variation in land ceiling size across the Indian states over time was largely dependent on choice of crops or soil fertility and as such could be treated as independent of the state authorities, our results support the conjecture that more restrictive land ceiling size has led to lower investment in both fixed and total capital output ratios at the state-level (1960-85). Further analysis of firm-level (1996-2012) data confirms that the ceiling effect persists in the long run, thus identifying an unintended consequence of land ceilings for investment and economic growth in the Indian states.
Keywords: Land ceiling legislations, Transaction costs of land acquisition, Corporate investment, Fixed and total capital-output ratios, More and less land-intensive firms, India. 1. Introd
JEL Classification: Q1, O4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation