Land reform and agricultural productivity in India

On the whole, the impact of land reform on agricultural productivity in India appears to be negative and significant. This hides considerable variation by state and by type of land reform. In India, land reform legislation consisted of four main categories - tenancy reform, abolition of intermediaries, land ceiling, which imposed an upper limit on landholdings and aimed to redistribute surplus land to the landless; and land consolidation, which unified small bits of land into a single holding to boost viability and productivity.

For the few states that did implement these laws rigorously, such as West Bengal, the productivity effects of land reform were positive. Also, land ceiling legislation tends to be the main driver of the negative effect. 

Maitreesh Ghatak
Sanchari Roy

London School of Economics
London, United Kingdom

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