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Land Policies for Growth and Poverty Reduction (World Bank Policy Research Report)

Land Policies for Growth and Poverty Reduction (World Bank Policy Research Report)

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Book DescriptionLand is a key component of the wealth of any nation. Well-defined, secure, and transferable rights to land are crucial to development efforts.

In developing countries, most land is used for agricultural production, a mainstay of economic sustenance. The possession of land rights also allows people to turn latent assets into live capital through entrepreneurial activity. Moreover, the use of land as a primary investment vehicle allows households to accumulate and transfer wealth between generations. The ability to use land rights as collateral for credit helps create a stronger investment climate, and land rights are thus a pre-condition for the emergence and operation of financial markets. This book considers the historical, conceptual, and legal contexts of property rights to land and land transactions and explores the scope and role of governments and land policy formation.

Researchers have often neglected the profound impact of land policies on countries' long-term path of social and economic development. This report draws on an impressive body of research to emphasize this dimension and illustrate implications for policy. It deserves a wide readership among academics and policymakers.--Yujiro Hayami, Chairman, FASID Graduate Faculty, and Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan

Historical experience in many countries demonstrates that without a clear land policy, it will be difficult or impossible to reduce deep-rooted structural poverty and inequality. Building on a wide array of research and experience, this report lays out the main dimensions of the issue and illustrates how they can help to develop an approach to land policy that fits into more general strategies for poverty reduction.--Alan deJanvry, Professor, University of California, Berkeley

This report represents a major and welcome shift in World Bank thinking on land policy by offering an increased openness and flexibility in thinking, a readiness to admit to past mistakes, and an avoidance of dogmatism. The critical test will be to ensure that the report's relatively more enlightened approach and principles will be turned into better Bank practice at the country level. This will require genuine commitment from senior management in the Bank and continued pressure from civil society advocates who defend the land rights of the poor. -- Robin Palmer, Land Policy Adviser, Oxfam, Great BritainDownload DescriptionLand is a key component of the wealth of any nation. Throughout history, virtually all civilizations have spent considerable time defining land rights and establishing institutions to administer them. Well-defined, secure, and transferable rights to land are crucial to development efforts. In developing countries, most land is used for agricultural production, a mainstay of economic sustenance. The possession of land rights also typically ensures a baseline of shelter and food supply and allows people to turn latent assets into live capital through entrepreneurial activity. Once secure in their land rights, rural households invest to increase productivity. Moreover, the use of land as a primary investment vehicle allows households to accumulate and transfer wealth between generations. The ability to use land rights as collateral for credit helps create a stronger investment climate and land rights are thus, at the level of the economy, a pre-condition for the emergence and operation of financial markets. Property rights to land are one of the cornerstones for the functioning of modern economies. This book looks first at the historical, conceptual, and legal contexts of property rights to land. It then considers aspects of land transactions, including the key factors affecting the functioning of rural land markets. Finally, it explores the scope and role of governments and land policy formation and discusses ways in which developing countries can establish land policy frameworks that maximize social benefit.