(DP 1979-03) Impact of Public Agricultural Land Distribution on Farm Size Inequality in Palawan, 1951-1975

Jovito G. Inoferio


The impact of public agricultural land distribution in the Philippines can be examined through an ex post facto analysis of the distribution of the resource. As differentiated from the redistribution of lands (e.g. land reform), the distribution confers benefits to certain social groups though the costs are not discernible on any particular set. Redistribution realizes thereafter the existence of an imbalance and therefore requires a direct loss to a certain group in order to make the other better off. Public agricultural lands are disposable under the following types of grant: (a) homestead, (b) sales (individual and corporate), (c) free-patent, (d) cadastral, (e) lease (individual and corporate), and (f) free title. Each has its own manner of acquisition as well as its maximum hectarage. Except for the free-patent, cadastral, and free-title concessions at least one-fifth of the agricultural land area must be cultivated prior to the release of the patents. Hence, farm-size inequality can be viewed either from two aspects: (a) inequality across public agricultural land grants due to differentials in the maximum hectarage, and (b) inequality in each type of concession due to differences in the levels of farm budget necessary to develop the stipulated land area. Where the public sector exercises minimal prerogative in the disposition of the resource, farm-size inequality is expected to be serious. As expected, the Gini ratio is high in the free-patent, cadastral, and sales (both individual and corporate) distributions. Relatively less inequality is seen in the other kinds of concessions. In the original paper, the total Gini ratio is decomposed into within-set and between-set components to determine sources of variation through size group comparisons. Except in some few cases, however, less significance can be attributed to the decomposition analyses by demographic and non-demographic factors. Much as this researcher desires to incorporate such few significant constraints, results imposed by the methodology of the original paper do not permit such.

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