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Technological Change, Organizational Capacity and Rural Conflict: Land Occupations in Brazil

Stefano Falcone will present the paper "Technological Change, Organizational Capacity and Rural Conflict: Land Occupations in Brazil". This paper analyzes a case of wealth reallocation induced by trade liberalization in Brazil. We examine how the reorientation of the Brazilian economy toward agricultural exports in the mid-90s led to an increase in conflict over land.

Stefano Falcone

Ph.D Candidate in Economics, ECARES, Université Libre de Bruxelles

“Interested in development and political economy, my research focuses on the determinants of poverty. Using well-established tools for causal inference, my PhD thesis contributes to the empirical literature on poverty in different contexts: evicted households in the USA, land conflict and glyphosate-harmed peasants in Brazil. I am also interested in studying empirically how groups solve collective action problems and cope with externalities in conflict, crime and health-related issues.”

Technological Change, Organizational Capacity and Rural Conflict: Land Occupations in Brazil

ABSTRACT: Increased agricultural productivity can lead to investment in manufacturing sector and induce growth. In turn, economic development might reduce the incidence of conflict through its effect on income.  However, the economic forces that contribute to the process of development through structural transformation can unleash conflictual claims on previously uncontested assets and generate conflict. This paper analyzes a case of wealth reallocation induced by trade liberalization in Brazil. We examine how the reorientation of the Brazilian economy toward agricultural exports in the mid-90s led to an increase in conflict over land. We show that the increase in conflict is associated to the expansion of the formal agricultural sector and the reduction of common land.  Conflict worsens where gains from capital- and land-intensive crops are higher, while it is mitigated by potential gains in labor-demanding crop.  Our results also indicate that land occupations result in higher probability ofbeing granted property title over land, suggesting a role for collective action in pushing forward the Agrarian Reform. Finally, we show that, given incentives, the performance of collective action depends on the density of Catholic priests. We interpret these results as showing that the ability of rural poor to politically mobilize depends on the existence of networks of potential leaders able to gather information and coordinate action.

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The EUROPEAN NETWORK FOR TRAINING IN ECONOMIC RESEARCH (ENTER) is a cooperative venture between eight leading European Economics Departments, located in Barcelona (Spain), Brussels (Belgium), London (United Kingdom), Madrid (Spain), Mannheim (Germany), Stockholm (Sweden), Tilburg (the Netherlands) and Toulouse (France).

ENTER exchange seminars offer students the possibility to visit universities in the network to present papers and interact with students and faculty members in the other institutions.

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This is an online seminar which will take place via Zoom. The link to the seminar will be distrubted by invitation only. Please contact lyudmila.vafaeva@hhs.se if you would like to attend the seminar.

 

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