Quotation Heger, Martin, Zens, Gregor, Bangalor, Mook. 2020. Land and poverty: the role of soil fertility and vegetation quality in poverty reduction. Environment and Development Economics. 25 (4), 315-333.




The debate on the land–poverty nexus is inconclusive, with past research unable to identify the causal dynamics. We use a unique global panel dataset that links survey and census derived poverty data with measures of land ecosystems at the subnational level. Rainfall is used to overcome the endogeneity in the land–poverty relationship in an instrumental variable approach. This is the first global study using quasi-experimental methods to uncover the degree to which land improvements matter for poverty reduction. We draw three main conclusions. First, land improvements are important for poverty reduction in rural areas and particularly so for Sub-Saharan Africa. Second, land improvements are pro-poor: poorer areas see larger poverty alleviation effects due to improvements in land. Finally, irrigation plays a major role in breaking the link between bad weather and negative impacts on the poor through reduced vegetation growth and soil fertility.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Environment and Development Economics
Citation Index SSCI
WU-Journal-Rating new VW-D
Language English
Title Land and poverty: the role of soil fertility and vegetation quality in poverty reduction
Volume 25
Number 4
Year 2020
Page from 315
Page to 333
Reviewed? Y
URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/S1355770X20000066
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s1355770x20000066
Open Access N


Zens, Gregor (Details)
Bangalor, Mook (London School of Economics, United Kingdom)
Heger, Martin (The World Bank, United States/USA)
Department of Economics (Crespo Cuaresma) (Details)
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