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Untitled: A Study of Formal and Informal Property Rights in Urban Ecuador

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  • Jean O. Lanjouw
  • Philip I. Levy
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    Abstract

    In this paper we explore the substitutability of formal and informal property rights. We analyze new survey data from Ecuador, where households have both formal and informal claims to urban residential property. The latter come from a variety of sources, including the activity of a local boss, or organizer. We first develop a theory of the ability to sell or rent land in which a distinction is drawn between transferable property rights (e.g., title) and non-transferable claims (e.g., length of residence). We use this theory of transactions to show that the increase in price that follows the granting of title may be an overestimate of the households' utility gain. In our empirical work we find that the unconditional effect of granting title is to raise properties' value by 23.5%. However, we also find that informal property rights can substitute effectively for formal property rights, so the marginal effect of titling on the ability to transact and on prices can vary widely among communities and among households within a community. For example, the value of property owned by a newly established household with no adult males can increase by 46% with the acquisition of title. These findings suggest that titling programs should be targeted at young disorganized communities if they are to have much effect.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp788.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 788.

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    Length: 69 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 1998
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:788

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    1. Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1984. "Tenure Security and Urban Squatting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(4), pages 556-67, November.
    2. Johnson, Omotunde E G, 1972. "Economic Analysis, The Legal Framework and Land Tenure Systems," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 259-76, April.
    3. Lee J. Alston & Gary D. Libecap & Robert Schneider, 1996. "The Determinants and Impact of Property Rights: Land Titles on the Brazilian Frontier," NBER Working Papers 5405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-37, October.
    5. Friedman, Joseph & Jimenez, Emmanuel & Mayo, Stephen K., 1988. "The demand for tenure security in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 185-198, September.
    6. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
    7. Migot-Adholla, Shem, et al, 1991. "Indigenous Land Rights Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Constraint on Productivity?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 155-75, January.
    8. Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1985. "Urban squatting and community organization in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 69-92, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Daniel P. Kessler & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 2004. "Empirical Study of the Civil Justice System," NBER Working Papers 10825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Galiani, Sebastian & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2010. "Property rights for the poor: Effects of land titling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 700-729, October.
    3. Deininger, Klaus & Ali, Daniel Ayalew & Alemu, Tekie, 2008. "Impacts of land certification on tenure security, investment, and land markets : evidence from Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4764, The World Bank.
    4. Dower, Paul & Potamites, Elizabeth, 2005. "Signaling Credit-Worthiness: Land Titles, Banking Practices and Access to Formal Credit in Indonesia," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19120, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    5. Kapoor, Mudit & Le Blanc, David, 2004. "Measuring the risk on housing investment in the informal sector: theory and evidence from Pune, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3433, The World Bank.
    6. Liesbet Vranken & Karen Macours & Nivelin Noev & Johan Swinnen, 2007. "Property Rights Imperfections, Asset Allocation, and Welfare: Co-Ownership in Bulgaria," LICOS Discussion Papers 18007, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    7. David Clark, 2005. "Towards a Unified Framework for Understanding the Depth, Breadth and Duration of Poverty," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-020, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. Somik Lall & Uwe Deichmann & Mattias KA Lundberg & Nazmul Chaudhury, 2004. "Tenure, Diversity and Commitment: Community Participation for Urban Service Provision," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 1-26.
    9. Stefan Dercon & Daniel Ayalew, 2005. "Property Rights in a Very Poor Country: Tenure Insecurity and Investment in Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-021, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    10. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing, 2006. "Tenure security and land-related investment: Evidence from Ethiopia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1245-1277, July.
    11. Galiani, Sebastian, 2011. "The Dynamics of Land Titling Regularization and Market Development," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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