Agrarian income distribution, land ownership systems, and economic performance: Settler economies during the first globalization

Produced by: 
Universidad de la República del Uruguay
Available from: 
September 2013
Paper author(s): 
Jorge Álvarez (Universidad de la República)
Henry Willebald (Universidad de la República)
Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics
Globalization and Trade

The aim of this paper is to explain the impact of the establishment of the system of landownership on the income distribution and economic growth of settler economies (Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay) during the First Globalization. We consider a conceptual framework based on the New Institutional Economic Theory to describe the process of the distribution of the land property rights in historical perspective and to analyze the characteristics of the land tenure system in a comparative perspective. Our results identify two models of distribution of property rights within the “club”. One of them corresponds to Australasia and, the other, to the River Plate countries, and they represented different consequences in terms of productive expansion and inequality. The land rents absorb a much larger part of total output in River Plate than in Australasia and, as result, it represents a negative incentive to productivity growth that contributes to explain the relative failure of Argentina and Uruguay compared to Australia and New Zealand.


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