nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2018‒12‒24
three papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. The Perversion of Land Reform by Landed Elites: Power, Inequality and Development in Colombia By Marta-Juanita Villaveces; Jean-Paul Faguet; Fabio Sánchez
  2. Intergenerational mobility and the rise and fall of inequality: Lessons from Latin America By Neidhöfer, Guido
  3. Property Rights and Intellectual Property Protection, GDP growth and Individual Well-Being in Latin America By Amina A. Lahsen; Alan Piper

  1. By: Marta-Juanita Villaveces; Jean-Paul Faguet; Fabio Sánchez
    Abstract: Over two centuries, Colombia transferred vast quantities of land, equivalent to the entire UK landmass, mainly to landless peasants. And yet Colombia retains one of the highest concentrations of land ownership in the world. Why? We show that land reform’s effects are highly bimodal. Most of Colombia’s 1100+ municipalities lack a landed elite. Here, rural properties grew larger, land inequality fell, and development improved. But where land is concentrated in the hands of a rural elite, distributed land was diverted to bigger farms, resulting in fewer small and more large farms, greater land dispersion, and lower levels of development. We show that these effects – positive and negative – flow through political participation, competition, and policy-making. Landed elites use patron-client ties to distort local and national politics to their benefit. Land reform’s secondary effects, on the distribution of power, are more important than its primary effects on the distribution of land. *** Desde la independencia, Colombia ha transferido una vasta cantidad de tierra, equivalente al área del Reino Unido, principalmente a campesinos desterrados. Sin embargo, Colombia mantiene hoy en día uno de los más altos niveles de concentración de la tenencia de la tierra en el mundo. ¿Por qué? En este artículo mostramos que los efectos de la reforma agraria son bimodales. La mayoría de los más de 1100 municipios no cuentan con una élite terrateniente. En estos municipios, la propiedad rural creció y la desigualdad de la tierra se redujo. Pero, donde la tierra está concentrada en manos de una élite rural, la distribución de la tierra se orientó hacia los beneficios de los grandes terratenientes, con mayor dispersión en la tierra y menor nivel de desarrollo. Mostramos que estos efectos –positivos y negativos- se vinculan a la participación política, la competencia y la implementación de políticas. La élite terrateniente utiliza los vínculos patrón-cliente para distorsionar los beneficios de la política local y nacional. Los efectos secundarios de la reforma agraria en la distribución del poder, son más importantes que los efectos primarios en la distribución de la tierra.
    Keywords: Land reform, inequality, development, latifundia, political competition, Colombia
    JEL: Q15 D63 O1 D72
    Date: 2018–12–07
  2. By: Neidhöfer, Guido
    Abstract: Countries with high income inequality also show a strong association between parents' and children's economic well-being; i.e. low intergenerational mobility. This study is the first to test this relationship in a between-country and within-country setup; using harmonized micro data from 18 Latin American countries, spanning multiple cohorts. It is shown that experiencing higher income inequality in childhood is associated with lower intergenerational mobility measured in adulthood. Following the same methodology, the influence of economic growth and public education is evaluated: both are positively, significantly, and substantially associated with intergenerational mobility.
    Keywords: Inequality,Intergenerational Mobility,Equality of Opportunity,Human Capital,Growth,Development,Public Education,Great Gatsby Curve,Latin America
    JEL: D63 I24 J62 O15
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Amina A. Lahsen (Europa-Universität Flensburg, Internationales Institut für Management, Abteilung Internationale und Institutionelle Ökonomik); Alan Piper (Europa-Universität Flensburg, Internationales Institut für Management, Abteilung Internationale und Institutionelle Ökonomik)
    Date: 2018

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