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Aliz Tóth

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Graduate Student Research Funding | 2020 - 2021 Academic Year

The State of Land Acquisition: How Conflict Over Land Undermines State Capacity and Development

Why do some states fail to build infrastructure projects? Tóth argues that infrastructure initiatives fail because of conflict over the state's right to acquire land. Because information on land values and landholders is often limited, landowners are under-compensated, provoking resistance to acquisition. However, bureaucrats embedded in communities can leverage their social ties to undercut public opposition. As a test, Tóth proposes to survey landowners collecting information on compensation, resistance, and identity of bureaucrats and landowners. Combining evidence from survey data with administrative datasets, she demonstrates that embedded bureaucrats shape the state’s capacity to negotiate with landowners and, thus, provide infrastructure.

Aliz Tóth, Department of Political Science

Aliz Toth

Aliz Tóth is a PhD student in political science at Stanford University. Her dissertation research investigates why government efforts to acquire land for public projects and private enterprises often result in protest and litigation, with a regional focus on India. Tóth’s dissertation proposes a novel theory of bargaining breakdown where conflict becomes a rational response for governments and landowners when the price of land and communities’ resolve is uncertain. The dissertation uses a variety of methods including qualitative interviews, original survey data, and public datasets to test the role of asymmetric information and land prices in perpetuating conflict.

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