50 years after the Agrarian Reform in Chile: reflections and lessons

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August 2018
Paper author(s): 
A. Valdes
Topic: 
Agricultural - Natural Resource Economics
Year: 
2018

The agrarian reform carried out between 1965 and 1973 was the result of legitimate problems in prereform rural society, of which slow agricultural growth was one major determinant. Ultimately the reform failed to achieve its initial objectives in terms of accelerating growth but had a profound social and political impact in rural areas. This text contributes to the literature on the objectives and outcomes of agricultural reform in Chile by raising arguments and evidence regarding various components of the process. The key lessons from this analysis are that the leaders behind the agrarian reform misinterpreted their diagnosis about the causes behind the slow growth of agriculture, attributing this slow growth to farm tenure system at the time, ignoring the adverse impact on the sector of economy-wide policies. Additionally, simply paying attention to similar agricultural reform processes worldwide may have helped the reformers avoid the Asentamientos disappointing performance. These lessons are relevant to continuing debates on the interphase between land tenure structure and agricultural policies.

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