Land inequality in a coffee economy: São Paulo during the early twentieth century

Produced by: 
University of Sao Paulo
Available from: 
February 2014
Paper author(s): 
Renato Colistete
Maria Lucia Lamounier
Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics

This article examines the distribution of land ownership in the northeastern part of the state of São Paulo, Brazil, the leading coffee export region in the world during the early twentieth century. Based on a detailed agricultural census, we find a widespread presence of small and medium-size farms, with varied degrees of land concentration across subregions and municipalities. Still, large farms and latifundia controlled most of the productive resources in northeast São Paulo, resulting in high levels of inequality when compared to those of other export regions in South and North America.


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