by: World Bank
Land is a key component of the wealth of any nation. Throughout
history, virtually all civilizations have spent considerable time
defining land rights and establishing institutions to administer them.
Well-defined, secure, and transferable rights to land are crucial to
In developing countries, most land is used for agricultural
production, a mainstay of economic sustenance. The possession of land
rights also typically ensures a baseline of shelter and food supply and
allows people to turn latent assets into live capital through
entrepreneurial activity. Once secure in their land rights, rural
households invest to increase productivity. Moreover, the use of land
as a primary investment vehicle allows households to accumulate and
transfer wealth between generations. The ability to use land rights as
collateral for credit helps create a stronger investment climate and
land rights are thus, at the level of the economy, a pre-condition for
the emergence and operation of financial markets.
Property rights to land are one of the cornerstones for the
functioning of modern economies. This book looks first at the
historical, conceptual, and legal contexts of property rights to land.
It then considers aspects of land transactions, including the key
factors affecting the functioning of rural land markets. Finally, it
explores the scope and role of governments and land policy formation
and discusses ways in which developing countries can establish land
policy frameworks that maximize social benefit.
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