Cooperative Property Rights and Development: Evidence from Land Reform in El Salvador


Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 12:00pm


CGIS South, S250, 1730 Cambridge Street

Speaker: Eduardo Montero, Academy Scholar, The Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies; Assistant Professor, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
Moderator: Fernando Bizzarro, PhD student, Department of Government; Graduate Student Associate, DRCLAS

headshot of Eduardo MonteroThis presentation examines the effects of cooperative ownership -- a form of ownership particularly prevalent in Latin America -- on agricultural productivity and economic development. It focus on the 1980 El Salvador land reform program, where properties owned by individuals with cumulative holdings over 500 hectares were targeted for redistribution to the former hacienda workers in the form of cooperatives, but properties belonging to individuals with less than 500 hectares were to remain as privately-owned haciendas. Relative to properties that were never expropriated, the reform cooperatives are (i) less likely to produce cash crops and more likely to produce staple crops; (ii) less productive at cash crops; but more productive at staple crops, and (iii) have higher worker incomes and more compressed wage distributions. 

Eduardo Montero is an economist interested in development economics, political economy, and economic history. He is a postdoctoral scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and an Assistant Professor at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He received his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 2018.

Montero's research focuses on how variation in institutions — such as property rights regimes — and cultural norms — such as mistrust — affect development and development policy in Central America and Central Africa.

Montero is from San José, Costa Rica. He graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Economics in 2010 and with a MS in Statistics in 2011.

Fernando Bizzarro is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard and a Graduate Student Associate to the DRCLAS. A political scientist from Brazil, he researches the nature, causes, and consequences of democracy and political parties in Latin America.

The Tuesday Seminar Series is a bring your own brown bag lunch series. Please feel free to enjoy your lunch at the lecture, drinks will be provided.