Land plays an important role in the economies of developing countries, and many theories connecting land inequality with different dimensions of economic development already exist. Even though efficacious land distribution allows societies to transition from poverty to a human capital-based developed economy, ongoing issues related to property rights, inequality, and the political economy of land distribution are unavoidable. The general objective of this paper is to explore the nexus between land distribution and economic development. The specific objectives are to: (i) identify which land distribution programs/activities contribute to economic development; (ii) investigate the role of stakeholders in land distribution programs that affect the growth of productivity; and (iii) assess the deficiencies of current land distribution policies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to explore how economic development theories contribute to decreasing income inequality. This paper provides an overview of land distribution history and the main economic development theories. It also highlights the links between land distribution and the main elements of economic development. Finally, it provides a comparative review of the most recent empirical works regarding the characteristics, limitations, and potential (mutual) effects of land distribution and economic development settings on developing countries worldwide.
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