Irrigation Inequalities in Pakistan 1960-1980: A District-level Analysis

Manzoor Ahmad, Rajan K. Sampath


This study estimates the magnitudes of inequality in the
distribution of irrigated areas at three points in time and extends the
fmdings of Gill and Sampath (1990) using more disaggregated data.
Specifically, it provides estimates of the level of inequality in the
distribution of land and irrigation-related attributes among
agricultural households across farm-size groups at provincial and
district levels. It decomposes the levels of inequality in each province
in terms of its two major components, namely, "betweendistricts" and
"within-district" inequality, and tests a modified "Kuznet" hypothesis,
according to which the relationship between the levels of inequality and
the levels of development is an inverted "U". The major findings of the
study are: There exists considerable inequality in the distribution of
various land area variables across farm-size groups in all the districts
of Pakistan, with considerable inter-district variations in their levels
and movements over time; between the "within-district" inequality and
"betweendistricts" ineqUality. The former represents 91 percent, 76
percent, 75 percent, and 65 percent of total inequalities for Sindh, the
Punjab, Balochistan, and the NWFP, respectively. This means that more
has to be done in terms of the irrigation distribution policy than in
terms of removing the inter-district variations in irrigation
development. And, finally, the modified "Kuznet" hypothesis is valid in
explaining the inter-district variations in the levels of inequality in
the distribution of at least some of the land area variables.

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