Opening Wednesday, March 10th, from 5:30PM - 6:30PM
Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Center for Latin American Studies
About the book: Major land reform programs have reallocated property in more than one-third of the world’s countries in the last century and impacted over one billion people. But only rarely have these programs granted beneficiaries complete property rights. Why is this the case, and what are the consequences? This book draws on wide-ranging original data and charts new conceptual terrain to reveal the political origins of the property rights gap. It shows that land reform programs are most often implemented by authoritarian governments who deliberately withhold property rights from beneficiaries. In so doing, governments generate coercive leverage over rural populations and exert social control. This is politically advantageous to ruling governments but it has negative development consequences: it slows economic growth, productivity, and urbanization and it exacerbates inequality. The book also examines the conditions under which subsequent governments close property rights gaps, usually as a result of democratization or foreign pressure.
About the author: Michael Albertus is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. His main research focus is on the political conditions under which governments implement egalitarian reforms. His first book, Autocracy and Redistribution: The Politics of Land Reform, published by Cambridge University Press, examines why and when land reform programs are implemented. It won the 2016 Luebbert Award for best book published in comparative politics in 2014 or 2015. Other research interests include political regime transitions and stability, politics under dictatorship, clientelism, and civil conflict. Albertus’ work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, World Development, and elsewhere.
About the interlocutor: Susan Stokes is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Chicago Center on Democracy. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her research interests include democratic theory and how democracy functions in developing societies; distributive politics; and comparative political behavior. Her co-authored book, Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism (Cambridge, 2013) won best-book prizes from the Comparative Politics (Luebbert Prize) and Comparative Democratization sections of APSA. Among her earlier books, Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America (Cambridge, 2001), received prizes from the APSA Comparative Democratization section and from the Society for Comparative Research. Her articles have appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, World Politics, and the Latin American Research Review.