Michael Albertus, Assistant Professor of Political Science
This project seeks to examine the long-term implications of land reform for a range of key development outcomes such as the provision of public education, political integration of historically excluded social groups, and civil conflict. The main case I am studying is Peru, though I am expanding the empirical scope to several European cases (Portugal and Italy) that underwent land reform in order to probe the generalizability of the theory and mechanisms. Half of all private agricultural land in Peru was expropriated and redistributed under military rule from 1969-80, mostly to peasants who previously worked on large, semi-feudal estates. Scholars have hypothesized that this reorganization of the countryside is at the heart of a host of consequential subsequent developments in Peru: the rise of rural public schooling, the greater political power of indigenous groups, and even the brutal Shining Path insurgency that ultimately killed roughly 70,000 people between 1980 and 2000. This project will investigate these relationships by geographically linking earlier land reform in Peru with these diverse development outcomes to determine how the scope and character of land reform impacted them.
Michael Albertus is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago. His research interests include political regimes and redistribution, regime transitions and stability, politics under dictatorship, clientelism, and civil conflict.
His first book, Autocracy and Redistribution: The Politics of Land Reform, was published in 2015 by Cambridge University Press in the Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics series. It won the 2016 Luebbert Book Award for the best book in comparative politics published in the previous two years, as well as the 2017 LASA Bryce Wood Book Award for the best book on Latin America in the social sciences and humanities. His research has also been published in the American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Annual Review of Political Science, Comparative Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Political Science Research and Methods, Economics & Politics, World Development, and Latin American Research Review. His second book, Flawed Since Conception: Authoritarian Legacies Under Democracy, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.