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Impact of Land Reform Strategies on Rural Poverty in the Commonwealth of Independent States

Comparison between Georgia and Moldova


Kerstin Kötschau

This study aimed at analysing the impact of two different land reform strategies on rural poverty in CIS countries, particularly in Georgia and Moldova. While Georgia distributed agricultural land parcels directly to the population at the beginning of the 1990ies, Moldova transferred land via paper shares for undemarcated land parcels. This study is based on household data, which were collected during household surveys in Georgia and Moldova in 2007 and 2008. The data had been used in order to analyse the impact of land reform on the endowment with land and other capital, the use of capital and the access to markets and credits as well as the importance of agricultural employment for rural households. A logit analysis had been run in order to detect the determinants of poverty.


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Part I: Rural Transition


The first part of this study focus on the process of rural transition in the CIS. First, the sector reforms in agriculture, i.e. land reform and farm restructuring, will be described including the change of the agrarian structure during the transi- tion process. Afterwards, the focus lays on the economic development of the agricultural sector since the breakdown of the Soviet Union, including the de- velopment of the gross agricultural output (GAO) and the employment in the agricultural sector. In the following, rural poverty during the transition process will be addressed. It focusses on the interrelation between land reform and pov- erty. This first part finishes with a literature review on land reform in Eastern European and former Soviet Republics and previous studies, which analysed the success or failure of the land reforms. The contribution of this study to the cur- rent research will be addressed. 2. Agrarian Reforms This chapter focuses on the overall agricultural transition in former Soviet Re- publics and gives an overview of the existing literature about rural transition in these countries. It starts with a short description of the agricultural structure dur- ing Soviet times followed by the transition process of the agricultural sector in- cluding the development of rural poverty. The chapter closes with a literature review and the placement of this study. 2.1 Agriculture in the Soviet Union The agricultural sector in the Soviet Union was characterized by a strong dualis- tic structure (LERMAN, 1998, p.308). Large so-called “socialised agricultural farms” coexisted with...

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