First Advisor

Stephen Frenkel

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in International & Global Studies: International Development and University Honors


International and Global Studies




Land tenure -- Ethiopia, Ethiopia -- Politics and government -- 1889-1974, Ethiopia -- Economic conditions, Feudalism – Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I (Emperor of Ethiopia) 1892-1975, Menelik II (Negus of Ethiopia) 1844-1913




The purpose of this paper is to understand how land tenure policies influenced the political economy of Ethiopia in the transition from a feudal society to a socialist state. Political economy refers to the interplay between economics, law, politics, and the role of institutions in the development of social and economic systems. This paper will analyze the feudal land tenure policies of the Ethiopian monarchy as well as the socialist-Marxist military government that overthrew it. While the Ethiopian monarchy is thousands of years old, this paper is concerned with the time of Menelik II (1889-1913) to the reign of Haile Selassie I (1930-1974), the last emperor of Ethiopia. There are two main objectives of this paper. The first objective is to understand how access to land in feudal Ethiopian society shaped the economic, social, and political landscape. The second objective seeks to understand how the economic, social, and political landscape created by the land policies of the feudal society influenced the radical transition into a socialist-Marxist state.

This paper is divided into three sections. The first section deals with the various forms of land ownership; the social, political, and economic structures under the reign of both Menelik and Haile Selassie. The second section is dedicated to the decline of Haile Selassie and the Ethiopian monarchy. The last section deals with the socialist revolution of 1974 and the reforms under a socialist state.


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This Thesis is on 30 year embargo per student request and agreement with University Honors College.

An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts/Science in University Honors and International Development.

Persistent Identifier

Available for download on Sunday, May 20, 2046