To Whom Shall I Leave It?: Land Inheritance in the Brazilian Amazon

Bernardo L. Queiroz, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Gilvan R. Guedes, Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional (CEDEPLAR)

Why do family members get involved in transfers? More specifically, how parents decide to whom they will leave their assets (e.g. land, wealth)? Love and altruism, on one side, and exchange (self-interest or reciprocity), on the other, are the main socioeconomic explanations for parental behavior regarding distribution of family resources. This paper investigates how parents distribute land among their children and what are the interests involved in two traditional settings in the Brazilian Amazon, comparing effective and intended bequest. We contribute to the literature studying rural areas of Altamira and Santarém and using novel data from the Amazon Deforestation and the Structure of Household survey (University of Indiana at Bloomington). We use longitudinal data for Altamira Survey (1997/1998 and 2005) and cross-sectional data for Santarém Survey (2003). A cross-comparison is important so that we can account for differences in the influence of cultural contexts and social norms over land transmission.

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Presented in Session 61: Economic Perspectives on Intrafamily Resource Flows