Drivers of global variation in land ownership

Ecography Vol/Iss. 44(1) Wiley Published In Pages: 67-74
By Kavanagh, Patrick H., Haynie, Hannah J., Kushnick, Geoff, Vilela, Bruno, Tuff, Ty, Bowern, Claire, Low, Bobbi S., Ember, Carol R., Kirby, Kathryn R. , Botero, Carlos A. , Gavin, Michael C.


The article discusses the role of land ownership in natural resource management and social-ecological resilience, and explores the factors that determine ownership norms in human societies. The study tests long-standing theories from ecology, economics, and anthropology regarding the potential drivers of land ownership, including resource defensibility, subsistence strategies, population pressure, political complexity, and cultural transmission mechanisms. Using cultural and environmental data from 102 societies, the study found an increased probability of land ownership in mountainous environments and societies with higher population densities. The study also found support for the idea that neighboring societies might influence land ownership. However, there was less support for variables associated with subsistence strategies and political complexity.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
eHRAF World CulturesResearchers' ownCoded for land ownership
Ethnographic Atlas (EA)CombinationPolitical complexity data, subsistence variables, settlement patterns
D-PLACECombinationEnvironmental variables
Binford hunter-gatherer datasetResearchers' ownPopulation density data
SCCSOther researchersPopulation density data

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:jacob.kalodner