Written Paper

The Reform of Rural Land Markets in Latin America and the Caribbean: Research, Theory, and Policy Implications  [1991]

E.B. Shearer S. Lastarria-Cornhiel D. Mesbah

Access the full text

Summarizes recent research (to 1991) on rural land markets in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region and on the relationship between this research and broader land tenure issues. The purpose of the project that prompted this paper was to carry out cross-country and longitudinal research on land tenure issues in the LAC region so as to provide an instructive and informative analysis of how tenure patterns affect economic, rural development, and environmental issues. The project's principal research areas were: (1) tenure security through improved titling and land registration systems, (2) the potential for farmland markets to increase access to land, and (3) second-generation problems of existing agrarian reforms. This paper summarizes the research undertaken by the Land Tenure Center on the second of these research areas. The studies reviewed are exploratory and are designed to investigate how land markets work in order to develop projects and policies that will make the markets more open and efficient and more accessible to land-poor and landless farmers. The paper is in six parts. Following a general introduction and discussion of the broad schematic framework which guided the fieldwork, section 2 discusses the constraints to small farmer participation in rural land markets. Section 3 examines the country study research carried out under the project, while section 4 begins the process of putting these studies into the theoretical framework needed f
or future research and programs. Section 5 discusses potential land market interventions, and section 6 presents the conclusions derived from the paper. The annex is an essay titled "Economic Theory of Land Markets and Its Implications for the Land Access of the Rural Poor," by Michael R. Carter and Dina Mesbah. [author]