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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Friebel, Guido / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Tsui, Kevin / Wichardt, Philipp / Zulehner, Christine

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Robin Hood's Compromise: The Economics of Moderate Land Reforms

Oriana Bandiera1 / Gilat Levy2



Citation Information: Contributions in Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 3, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1538-0645, DOI: 10.2202/1538-0645.1306, December 2004

Publication History

Published Online:


This paper analyses the consequences of an unusual type of land redistribution; we take land from the very rich, as usual, but give it to the rich instead of the poor. We show that such "moderate" reform reduces agency costs and thereby increases productivity, total surplus in the economy, and the welfare of rural workers. Compared to the classic redistribution "to the tiller", moderate reforms do worse in terms of equity and do not give the poor a collaterizable asset. They can however do equally well in terms of efficiency and might be more sustainable both financially and politically.

Keywords: land reform; moral hazard

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