Land Reform and Agricultural Reform Policies in Romania's Transition to the Market Economy: Overview and Assessment

P. Aligica, A. DABU

Eastern European Economics

septembre-octobre 2003, vol. 41, n°5, pp.49-69

Départements : Management et Ressources Humaines

This article explores in depth the key legislative and policy elements of the Romanian agrarian reform, surveys their historical and social context, articulates the ideas and beliefs that guided them, and assesses their success and repercussions. This detailed overview reveals that above and beyond any structural constraints, legacies of the past, or interest group pressures, the relative failure of the Romanian agriculture reform could be largely traced to a set of assumptions and beliefs that inspired the policymakers in charge of the process: (a) The erroneous assumption that land restitution and private ownership of the land could by themselves solve the problems of low productivity; (b) the paradoxical resilience of the idea that large farm size was the ideal form of organization of production in agriculture; (c) the misplaced belief that rural markets were to emerge naturally as a result of the reintroduction of private property rights over land; and (d) the notion that agricultural policies can be designed in isolation from the overall development of the other sectors of the economy.