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land reform

Land: Trap or Opportunity for the Rural Poor? Guest post by Juan Sebastián Galán

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Across the developing world, providing land through agrarian reform has been a popular strategy for expanding economic opportunities among the rural poor. Its use is commonly debated in several developing countries, including South Africa, China, India and many others in Latin America. A widely held view against providing land is that it traps recipient families in the countryside, forcing them to remain in the subsistence sector (Banerjee, 2000). This limits their chances to move up the social ladder.

Workers Unite: Cooperative Property Rights and Development in El Salvador - Guest post by Eduardo Montero

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This is the eleventh entry in this year's job market series. You can read the previous entries here.

"On March 5th, we went to sleep as poor colonos [laborers]. On March 6th, we woke up rich, as landholders."  –Cooperative Member, La Maroma Cooperative, 2017

Cooperative Property Rights in Latin America

Latin America has high levels of land inequality. In fact, land inequality is frequently cited as a key driver of Latin America’s comparative underdevelopment. In response to these high levels of inequality, over half of Latin American countries have attempted land reform programs to transform haciendas, in which an owner contracts laborers to work on the land, into agricultural cooperatives, in which workers jointly own and manage production. The figure below illustrates the Latin American countries that have attempted a land reform since the 1920s.