Large-Scale Land Acquisitions, Rural Change, and Social Conflict

Head
Apl. Prof. Dr. Jann Lay
Duration:
2019 - 2021
Funding:
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Cooperation partners

Prof. Dr. Evans Osabuohien, Covenant University

Prof. Dr. Nunung Nuryartono, Institut Pertanian Bogor, Indonesia

Prof. Dr. Alexander De Juan, University of Osnabrück, Germany

Tabs

Description

Research Questions

How do large-scale land acquisitions affect rural structural change and the risk of social conflict in developing countries? To understand how these “land grabs” translate into social conflict we investigate how they affect rural socio-economic structures and rural livelihoods. We pay particular attention to socio-economic inequality and examine how local formal and informal institutions may mitigate or intensify adverse implications of land deals.

Contribution to International Research

The research speaks to the literature on social conflicts and the role of horizontal inequality as well as the conflict and land nexus.

Despite clear indications that land acquisitions matter for social conflict, this relationship has remained under-studied. Both of the research strands highlight that the advent of an investor and changes in the availability and distribution of land do not mechanically produce specific outcomes. Instead, we observe considerable heterogeneity of effects, which indicates a key role for conditioning factors. Nonetheless, only little research has assessed the role of institutions and of inequality in terms of their mediating and intervening effects.

Research Design and Methods

The project relies on a nested mixed-methods research design that combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. Firstly, we will use available data to assess patterns of and correlations between investments and conflict events. We associate data on the presence (incl. duration) of land investments and conflict outcomes.

Secondly, we will collect quantitative data from two case studies in regions with a high incidence of large-scale land acquisitions: West Africa and South East Asia. Specifically, we will conduct two household surveys in selected rural sites in Liberia and Indonesia.

Thirdly, these quantitative analyses will be complemented by in-depth qualitative studies of selected cases. The cases will be selected to be exemplary of specific combinations of realizations of conflict outcomes, intervening variables, and context factors

Research Team

Research Programme

Institute