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The Political Power of Large‐Scale Farmers and Land Inequality: Some Evidence from Poland

Fałkowski, Jan, Bukowska, Grażyna, Wójcik, Piotr
Sociologia ruralis 2019 v.59 no.2 pp. 178-202
assets, farmers, land ownership, politics, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, rural areas, rural sociologists, Poland
Given current political concerns with inequality and the sustainable management of natural resources, the issue of the distribution of productive assets in rural areas has become an increasingly important focus of research. Referring to both ample historical evidence and qualitative research, rural sociologists have long postulated that the distribution of economic resources is strongly influenced by the distribution of political power. In this article we support this claim with quantitative analysis. Our focus is on the relationship between land inequality and the attainment of political power by large‐scale farmers in rural Poland. Our findings suggest a strong statistical association between the current level of land inequality and the fact that mayors operate relatively large land holdings themselves. Our results are qualitatively the same no matter whether we measure land inequality as the share of land used by the largest landholders or the land Gini index. They also hold in several robustness checks.