Quotation Boberg-Fazlić, Nina, Lampe, Markus, Martinelli Lasheras, Pablo, Sharp, Paul. 2022. Winners and losers from agrarian reform: Evidence from Danish land inequality 1682–1895. Journal of Development Economics. 155 (10281), 1-20.




Pro-market and pro-farmer agrarian reforms enacted in eighteenth century Denmark laid the basis for rural development but we demonstrate that they also resulted in increased inequality. We investigate this using a novel parish-level database spanning more than two centuries. We identify the impact of land quality on inequality following the reforms by instrumenting with soil type and find increases in areas with more productive land. We propose and find evidence for a mechanism whereby agrarian reforms allowed areas with better soil quality to realize greater productivity gains. This in turn led to greater population increases, and a larger share of smallholders and landless laborers. Finally, we demonstrate the impact on the winners and losers: more unequal areas witnessed increases in top incomes, but greater emigration of the rural poor, to the United States in particular. Thus, the losers were able to vote with their feet, in stark contrast to those who might lose from similar reforms in developing countries today.


Press 'enter' for creating the tag

Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Journal of Development Economics
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new FIN-A, VW-A, WH-B
Language English
Title Winners and losers from agrarian reform: Evidence from Danish land inequality 1682–1895
Volume 155
Number 10281
Year 2022
Page from 1
Page to 20
Reviewed? Y
URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdeveco.2021.102813
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdeveco.2021.102813
Open Access Y
Open Access Link http://ehes.org/EHES_178.pdf
JEL O13, N53, Q15


Inequality and Conflicts: Historical Studies on the Impact of Institutions on Development
Lampe, Markus (Details)
Boberg-Fazlić, Nina (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)
Martinelli Lasheras, Pablo (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain)
Sharp, Paul (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)
Institute for Economic and Social History IN (Details)
Research Institute for Spatial and Real Estate Economics FI (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5300 Economics (Details)
5325 Political economics (Details)
5340 Economic history (Details)
6521 Economic history (Details)
Google Scholar: Search