Research

Works in Progress

The Cost of Saving the Amazon: Deforestation, Property Rights, and Conflicts

In 2008, the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment introduced the Priority Municipality Policy which implemented a number of administrative initiatives in the highest deforesting municipalities of Brazilian Amazon. Although the policy was successful in curbing deforestation, its unintended collateral impact on the incidence and severity of land-related conflicts is missing from the literature. To address this, I use a ten-year panel data set for conflicts, agriculture, and deforestation in the Legal Amazon region of Brazil and employ a two-step nearest neighbor matching approach and an application of synthetic control method to estimate the causal effect of the policy on land conflicts and occupations. I find that the policy increased the number of occupations by 54% and the number of families involved in them by 305% in the targeted municipalities while there is no significant effect on land conflicts. Moreover, I find that the policy also significantly increased occupations in the neighboring municipalities by 56%. Therefore, part of the treatment effect on occupations is spatially displaced, but must be considered in cost-benefit analysis of the policy.

The Green Revolution and Inequality: India (with Leah Bevis)

Green revolution in India has been lauded for its positive impact on agricultural productivity and, in turn, the farmers’ lives. However, its effects on land redistribution and inequality in the long-run are unclear. Large farmers may have benefited non-proportionately from the technologies that pervaded in the decades leading up to the turn of the 21st century. Richer farmers who own larger farms had early access to irrigation systems allowing them to profit more. Simultaneously, the smaller farmers who are unable to set up new irrigation technologies and thus cannot compete with the large farmers may be forced to sell their farms leading to systematic land redistribution. The poor farmers, in this process, maybe worse off as a consequence of the green revolution in India. This raises a question on whether the policy implementation considered farmer welfare at all. Identifying the winners and losers in the green revolution is important not only to understand the current inequality in India but also to design appropriate agrarian and welfare policies. Moreover, this research has policy relevance specifically for countries in Africa that are more recent to new agricultural technologies and may inadvertently experience worsened inequality and welfare loss by non-optimal policies.