Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name

Quantitative Economics


Economics and Planning Unit (EPU-Delhi)


Chetty, V. K. (EPU-Delhi; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

Institutions and arrangements governing the property and use of land are crucial to the development of productive forces. This is true, in particular, of triennial arrangements. The system of land tenures that prevailed during the colonial period was widely considered the main cause of economic stagnation at the time of India's independence (1947). It was also perceived as highly exploitative of the tenants. Thus, land reforms were accorded the highest priority by the new Indian Government. Soon all the State Legislatures started enacting land reform laws - starting with the Legislative Assembly of Bihar immediately after 1947 and the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh in 1950. There is little doubt that these measures had a far- reaching impact on productive forces (as well as on the alignment of political power). The aim of the present study is to understand the functioning of agricultural tenancy in contemporary India, and to investigate its policy implications.Interest in the question of land tenancy and land rent is as old as economics itself. The nature of inquiry has undergone many changes during the last two centuries of research. Classical economists were much concerned with the question of ground rent, and its relation with different theories of value. There has been vigorous debate on tenancy during the recent past - particularly after Cheungs work (1968,1969a). The central issue during the seventies was the choice of tenancy contract and the puzzle of share-cropping (as Quibria and Rashid, 1984, call it).In the cighties, the focus of the debate shifted to the interlocking nature of rural markets in poor agrarian economics. Interlinked contracts have been perceived in different ways. In one perspective, they are seen as the devices of more effective exploitation of poor labor households by a rich landlord (who is often also their only source al credit). Others view inter-linkage as a rational response of economic agents questioning in am environment characterized by imperfect or absent markets for factors of production and in the presence of incomplete, asymmetrically distributed and costly information.Thus, juxtaposed to the historical policy debate that views tenancy as a source of exploitation of the tenant and of productive stagnation is the theoretical view - ranging from the neo-classical to the Marxist - of tenancy (in particular, share-cropping) as an institution of questionable efficiency and of the tenant as being stuck on his reservation curve. Indeed, the empirical literature itself has largely concentrated in issues such as the efficiency of share-cropping.However, little attention has been paid to the overall allocation of resources under different tenure systems. This involves not only comparing the cultivation practices used under different types of tenure but also investigating how much land is rented or cultivated under different tenure systems. The economic efficiency of different tenure systems is a much larger issue than that of how a particular plot of land is likely to be cultivated under different tenure arrangements. The relationship between triennial arrangements and economic efficiency has to take note of this important distinction.


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