Agrarian reform in Moldova, as in all former Soviet republics, involved the transfer of land and assets of collective farms in private possession, and also restructuring of the last.
The distribution of land rights is a very important economic and political issue, and itplayed a central role in the transition processes in Europe and Asia. This paperanalyzes the impact of the distribution of land on household welfare by usingsubjective well-being (SWB) data from a rural household survey in Moldova, thepoorest country in Europe. The recent land reform in Moldova provides a naturalexperiment on the impact of land ownership distribution on SWB.
The paper presents a comparative analysis of the productivity of small and large farms in Moldova based primarily on cross-section data from three farm surveys conducted by the World Bank and USAID in 2000 and 2003. The survey data are supplemented where feasible with time series from official national-level statistics. We calculate partial land and labor productivity, total factor productivity, and technical efficiency scores (using Stochastic Frontier and Data Envelopment Analysis algorithms) for the two categories of small individual farms and large corporate farms.
During the past two decades agrarian (‘land and farm’) reforms have been widespread in the transition economies of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA), following earlier ones in Asia (China and Vietnam). However, independent family farms did not become the predominant sector in most of Eastern Europe. A new dual (or bi-modal) agrarian structure emerged, consisting of large farm enterprises (with much less social functions than they had before), and very small peasant farms or subsidiary plots.
Based on a case study of two Moldovan regions, the paper challenges the favourable assessment of recently established peasant farms in a World Bank study by LERMAN et al. (1998).
The duality of farm structure in Moldova is manifested by the existence of a relatively small number of large corporate farms at one extreme and a very large number of small and very small family farms at the other. “Medium-sized” family farms, the backbone of any market agriculture, virtually do not exist in Moldova. Moldovan agriculture is characterized by a much greater concentrationof land in large farms than agriculture in market economies. The small individualfarms on the whole are more productive and more efficient than the large corporate farms.
Since 1991, Moldova has carried out a wide range of radical reforms affecting its social and economic system. The land reform, which was practically completed in 2000, created over 1 million landowners among the rural population. Many of them entrusted their land to managers of newly created corporate farms. Others used their privately owned land to establish independent family farms. The creation of independent family farms (so-called "peasant farms") was one of the primary goals of the land reform.
In the paper short data on the results of implementation of pilot land consolidation projects in 6 villages of the Republic of Moldova in 2007-2009 are presented. As a result it became possible to accumulate the experience necessary for extension of these works in scales of all country. Simultaneously a number of difficulties and problems have been identified. It will be difficult to realize these works without elimination of them.