Land reform distribution of land and institutions in rural Ethiopia: Analysis of inequality with dirty data

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There are two explicitly or implicitly and widely accepted beliefs about the distribution of land in Ethiopia after the reform of 1975. First, land distribution in rural Ethiopia is highly equitable, for example compared with other African countries, where private ownership exists. Second, the current land distribution pattern is basically a result of allocation after the reform; in other words, pre-reform tenures do not help us understand post-reform land distribution. This paper questions both these beliefs. Using formal inequality indexes and a methodology that explicitly considers measurement errors, the empirical results indicate that both inter- and intra-regional inequalities are high; inequality in the distribution of land is comparable with that in other African countries. A regression-based decomposition indicates that distribution of ox ownership and female-headship are important factors affecting inequality. This paper also argues that the post-reform distribution is likely influenced by pre-reform tenures and calls for a more detailed historical analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-577
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of African Economies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

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