When and why do countries redistribute land to the landless? What
political purposes does land reform serve, and what place does it
have in today's world? A long-standing literature dating back to
Aristotle and echoed in important recent works holds that
redistribution should be both higher and more targeted at the poor
under democracy. Yet comprehensive historical data to test this
claim has been lacking. This book shows that land redistribution -
the most consequential form of redistribution in the developing
world - occurs more often under dictatorship than democracy. It
offers a novel theory of land reform and develops a typology of
land reform policies. Albertus leverages original data spanning the
world and dating back to 1900 to extensively test the theory using
statistical analysis and case studies of key countries such as
Egypt, Peru, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. These findings call for
rethinking much of the common wisdom about redistribution and
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