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Monitoring and evaluation of land policies and land reform

Klaus Deininger

World Bank

Paper presented at - "Land Redistribution: Towards a Common Vision, Regional Course, Southern Africa, 9-13 July 2007"

SARPN acknowledges the World Bank as a source of this paper:
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Introduction and background

Land policies can constitute a serious constraint on economic and social development in a number of respects that are of great relevance for developing countries. On the one hand, insecure land tenure, outdated regulations, and slow or dysfunctional land institutions constrain private investment, undermine good governance, and reduce local government’s ability to raise taxes. On the other hand, highly skewed distributions of land ownership and patterns of land access that discriminate along lines of gender or ethnicity limit the scope for decentralized market mechanisms to bring land to its best uses, constrain economic opportunities (including the ability to use land as collateral) for disadvantaged groups, and often foment social conflict and violence.

Because of differences in the historical evolution and actual patterns of land use and ownership, the nature of land rights and institutions tends to vary significantly across countries and even regions within the same country. This implies that, more than in other areas, land policy and institutional reform will (i) involve a series of actions that need to be based on careful analysis of local conditions rather than abstract principles; (ii) have to be sequenced in a way that combines objective need with political acceptability; and (iii) often needs to be backed up by financial support to establish needed infrastructure. This increases the duration and complexity of land policy and, because land is often closely linked to vested interests, generally makes land policy reform controversial politically. Yet, the experience of many countries illustrates that ignoring land issues will carry a very high cost and may seriously undermine efforts at development in other sectors of the economy.

This note aims to provide practitioners with a quick reference of key policy issues, the way in which PSIA can help to address them, methodological considerations that will have to be considered, analytical instruments that can be used to do provide such evidence, and ways in which these results can be communicated to different stakeholders so as to elicit the desired policy response. The discussion of substantive and methodological issues will be relatively brief as both of these are discussed in more detail elsewhere (Deininger 2003, Bourguignon and Pereira da Silva 2003). The note goes beyond what is available in the literature by providing an annex with sample questionnaire modules that have been applied in different circumstances and that can help provide task managers with some ideas on how information that is relevant to PSIA can be generated in the context of standard household surveys. The rest of this note is structure as follows. Section two discusses the impact of greater tenure security, ways to enhance it, and studies that have provided empirical evidence on the impact of greater tenure security on investment, conflict, and land market participation. Section three covers key principles regarding land access, policies to enhance it, and empirical evidence on this topic. This is followed by a list of principles and practical issues in the areas of sampling, questionnaire design, and links to other areas of analysis that need to be considered in conducting PSIA.

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