Farm Size and Income Distribution of Latin American Agriculture: New Perspectives on an Old Issue

Chapter highlights:


  • Latin America exhibits the highest levels of land inequality in the developing world with an average Gini of 0.84. However, there exists a high degree of heterogeneity in patterns of land concentration.


  • The contribution of the agricultural sector in total income inequality ranges from 11% to 48%, with poor households relying on own-farm income and richer households diversifying into waged-farm income.


  • Small farms employ large shares of workers but only a small proportion of total land, and concurrently, all countries share the same positive relationship between output-per-worker and farm size.


  • A significant positive relationship is found between household income and farm size suggesting that labor productivity gains in larger farms might explain higher incomes and part of agricultural inequality.


  • Analysis challenges common approach of promoting small holder agriculture based on inverse farm size-productivity relationship. Agricultural inequality must not be reduced to only land inequality.


  •  The region does not have easily accessible, high-quality agricultural census data, data which is essential to understand the livelihoods of significant and largely vulnerable populations. 

Download the full publication

Download Publication

Keep in touch with the LACIR

Sign up to get the latest news, research, commentary and details of upcoming events.

Stay Informed


lse-polInter-America Development Bank LogoIFS_SECONDARY_BLACK_RGByaleuniv-blue@2x