FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro" series
2001 .070

Land Reform Policies, The Sources of Violent Conflict and Implications for Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


Authors: Gary D. Libecap, Lee J. Alston, Bernardo Mueller
Series: Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Editor: Carlo Carraro
Type: Journal
JEL n.: L2,N5,Q2
JEL: Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

Abstract

We examine land reform policies and their implications for violent conflict over land and resource use in the Brazilian Amazon. We identify the protagonists (land owners and squatters), derive their incentives to use violence, and show the role of legal inconsistencies as a basis for conflict. Although civil law guarantees title for land owners, the Brazilian Constitution adds a beneficial use criterion as a condition for title enforcement. This provision is part of a land reform or redistribution effort and it provides authorization for transfers to squatters. We describe the government agency involved in land reform, INCRA, and show that its intervention critically affects the actions of both squatters and land owners. Further, we point out the resource use effects of land reform policies and associated insecure property rights to land.

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