Tied to the Land? Intergenerational Mobility and Agrarian Reform in Colombia

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This study examines the intergenerational effects of providing land to the rural poor. I use ID numbers to track applicants to the 1968 Colombian agrarian reform and their children in various administrative data. Exploiting discontinuities in the allocation of parcels, I find that the children of recipients exhibit higher intergenerational mobility. In contrast to the view that land would tie them to the countryside, today these children participate more in the modern economy. They have better living standards and are more likely to work in formal and high-skilled sectors. These findings appear driven by a relief of credit constraints that allowed recipient families to migrate to urban centers and invest in the education of their children.

Last updated on 09/20/2020