Land ownership and land management policies in Norway and Scotland

Authored by: Annie McKee , Heidi Vinge , Hilde Bjørkhaug , Reidar Almås

The Routledge handbook of comparative rural policy

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138594111
eBook ISBN: 9780429489075
Adobe ISBN:


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It is argued that the pattern of landownership in Scotland is inequitable and inefficient, since the land (and its associated outputs) is concentrated in only a few, private hands. Critics argue that the scale of private landownership in Scotland maintains historical inequalities and injustices, and that alternative forms of land occupancy and smaller land holdings could lead to more productive land use and associated socio-economic benefits. With its rural political history of decentralization and multifunctional agriculture, Norway provides a fascinating and highly relevant comparison to the history of Scottish land ownership and land use policy, due in part to the similar population size, yet significant difference in the proportion of the population with a stake in land ownership management. The so-called “Norwegian model” (i.e. the pattern of land tenure, in tandem with rural and agricultural policies) is heralded as the goal for equitable landownership and sustainable land management that is the aspiration of Scottish policy-makers. This case study discusses the consequences of historic and potential future changes to the Norwegian model and implications for the comparative case of Scottish land reform, including the implementation of measures within the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.

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