Labor and Land Tenure Policies and Their Adverse Effects on Agricultural Employment, Agrarian Structure and Territorial Rural Development in Brazil

IPEA Discussion Paper No. 1108

40 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2005

Date Written: August 2005

Abstract

This paper discusses the question of the concentrated pattern of agricultural development in Brazil, as expressed in the predominance of large-scale production, high level of mechanization and low absorption of non-qualified labor. It is proposed, initially, the existence of two conflicting explanations for this fact: the first, that blames our historical heritage, characterized by the predominance of the latifundio, with the implication that the solution requires a radical agrarian reform; and the second, that sees in these concentrated pattern of agricultural growth in Brazil a technological determinism, with the implication that lesser concentration in agriculture would imply a loss in economic efficiency. Diverging radically from these two lines of arguments, this paper attributes to the agricultural labor and to the land policies that were instituted in the decade of 1960, and to the agricultural credit policy, instituted by the same time, the major responsibility for this problem. As argued in the paper, these policies turned unviable in Brazil not only the agricultural temporary labor market, but also family farm, at the same time that stimulated agricultural mechanization and the predominance of large-scale production. The paper points out, also, that an additional by-product of this concentrated pattern of agricultural growth was an increase in rural exodus and a lower level of territorial rural development, a theme so stressed nowadays. The paper ends up proposing, in a manner consistent with the analysis presented, that the only way to initiate the de-concentration of our agricultural growth and to create the pre-conditions for territorial rural development would be through a radical de-regulation both of agricultural labor and land markets, instituting in Brazil, at last, free contracting, the most basic capitalistic institution.

Note: Downloadable document is in Portuguese.

Keywords: Labor and Land Markets, Public Policies, Agrarian Reform

JEL Classification: Q15, J43, J58

Suggested Citation

Castro de Rezende, Gervasio, Labor and Land Tenure Policies and Their Adverse Effects on Agricultural Employment, Agrarian Structure and Territorial Rural Development in Brazil (August 2005). IPEA Discussion Paper No. 1108, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=785985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.785985

Gervasio Castro de Rezende (Contact Author)

Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) ( email )

Av. Pres. Antonio Carlos , 51 - 17 andar
Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 20020-010
Brazil
+55 21 3804 8000 (Phone)
+55 21 2240 1920 (Fax)

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