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Property Rights to Land and Agricultural Organization: An Argentina-United States Comparison

Eric Edwards, Martin Fiszbein and Gary Libecap

No 1, CEH Discussion Papers from Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University

Abstract: The contributions of Harold Demsetz offer key insights on how property rights and transaction costs shape economic organization. This guides our comparison of agricultural organization in two comparable regions, the Argentine Pampas and the US Midwest. In the US, land was distributed in small parcels and actively traded. In the Pampas, land was distributed in large plots and trade was limited because land was a social and political asset as well as commercial. We analyze why this led to persistently larger farms, specialization in ranching, and peculiar tenancy contracts in Argentina, relative to the US. Our empirical analysis, based on county-level data for both regions, shows that geo-climatic factors cannot explain the observed differences in agricultural organization. We discuss implications for long-term economic development in Argentina.

JEL-codes: L23 N51 N56 Q15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-his
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https://cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/CEH/WP202201.pdf

Related works:
Journal Article: Property Rights to Land and Agricultural Organization: An Argentina–United States Comparison (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Property Rights to Land and Agricultural Organization: An Argentina-United States Comparison (2020) Downloads
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