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Land Inequality and Rural Unrest : Theory and Evidence from Brazil

Albertus, Michael; Brambor, Thomas LU and Ceneviva, Ricardo (2018) In Journal of Conflict Resolution 62(3). p.557-596
Abstract

What is the relationship between landholding inequality and rural unrest? And why does land reform that ostensibly addresses rural grievances sometimes exacerbate unrest? We advance the understanding of these longstanding questions by shifting the emphasis from how landholding inequality fuels rural grievances to how it captures the collective action capacity of landowners. Using municipal-level data from Brazil’s large land reform program from 1988 to 2013, we demonstrate that the relationship between landholding inequality and unrest is conditional. Isolated threats to landed elites in the form of land invasions are difficult to repel, generating a positive relationship between landholding inequality and one-off land invasions. By... (More)

What is the relationship between landholding inequality and rural unrest? And why does land reform that ostensibly addresses rural grievances sometimes exacerbate unrest? We advance the understanding of these longstanding questions by shifting the emphasis from how landholding inequality fuels rural grievances to how it captures the collective action capacity of landowners. Using municipal-level data from Brazil’s large land reform program from 1988 to 2013, we demonstrate that the relationship between landholding inequality and unrest is conditional. Isolated threats to landed elites in the form of land invasions are difficult to repel, generating a positive relationship between landholding inequality and one-off land invasions. By contrast, sustained, broader local threats triggered by nearby land reforms catalyze landowner organization to repel land invasions, leading to the reverse relationship. The findings provide a novel answer for why a straightforward link between land inequality and rural unrest is elusive and may generalize to a broad range of similar cases.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
conflict, conflict management, internal armed conflict, political economy
in
Journal of Conflict Resolution
volume
62
issue
3
pages
40 pages
external identifiers
  • scopus:85041619144
ISSN
0022-0027
DOI
10.1177/0022002716654970
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
86a8c040-a1f8-451d-a3ec-3c5f07c45d09
date added to LUP
2018-02-20 12:33:05
date last changed
2018-05-29 10:04:45
@article{86a8c040-a1f8-451d-a3ec-3c5f07c45d09,
  abstract     = {<p>What is the relationship between landholding inequality and rural unrest? And why does land reform that ostensibly addresses rural grievances sometimes exacerbate unrest? We advance the understanding of these longstanding questions by shifting the emphasis from how landholding inequality fuels rural grievances to how it captures the collective action capacity of landowners. Using municipal-level data from Brazil’s large land reform program from 1988 to 2013, we demonstrate that the relationship between landholding inequality and unrest is conditional. Isolated threats to landed elites in the form of land invasions are difficult to repel, generating a positive relationship between landholding inequality and one-off land invasions. By contrast, sustained, broader local threats triggered by nearby land reforms catalyze landowner organization to repel land invasions, leading to the reverse relationship. The findings provide a novel answer for why a straightforward link between land inequality and rural unrest is elusive and may generalize to a broad range of similar cases.</p>},
  author       = {Albertus, Michael and Brambor, Thomas and Ceneviva, Ricardo},
  issn         = {0022-0027},
  keyword      = {conflict,conflict management,internal armed conflict,political economy},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {557--596},
  series       = {Journal of Conflict Resolution},
  title        = {Land Inequality and Rural Unrest : Theory and Evidence from Brazil},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022002716654970},
  volume       = {62},
  year         = {2018},
}