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Shelter from the Storm: Upgrading Housing Infrastructure in Latin American Slums

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Author Info

  • Sebastian Galiani
  • Paul Gertler
  • Ryan Cooper
  • Sebastian Martinez
  • Adam Ross
  • Raimundo Undurraga

Abstract

This paper provides empirical evidence on the causal effects that upgrading slum dwellings has on the living conditions of the extremely poor. In particular, we study the impact of providing better houses in situ to slum dwellers in El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay. We experimentally evaluate the impact of a housing project run by the NGO TECHO which provides basic pre-fabricated houses to members of extremely poor population groups in Latin America. The main objective of the program is to improve household well-being. Our findings show that better houses have a positive effect on overall housing conditions and general well-being: treated households are happier with their quality of life. In two countries, we also document improvements in children’s health; in El Salvador, slum dwellers also feel that they are safer. We do not find this result, however, in the other two experimental samples. There are no other noticeable robust effects on the possession of durable goods or in terms of labor outcomes. Our results are robust in terms of both internal and external validity because they are derived from similar experiments in three different Latin American countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19322.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19322

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References

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  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Sebastian Galiani & Jim Levinsohn & Zoë McLaren & Ingrid Woolard, 2007. "Why Has Unemployment Risen in the New South Africa," NBER Working Papers 13167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Erica Field, 2007. "Entitled to Work: Urban Property Rights and Labor Supply in Peru," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1561-1602, November.
  3. Florencia Devoto & Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & William Pariente & Vincent Pons, 2011. "Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco," NBER Working Papers 16933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joshua D. Angrist, 2004. "Treatment effect heterogeneity in theory and practice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C52-C83, 03.
  5. Lawrence F. Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Moving To Opportunity In Boston: Early Results Of A Randomized Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 607-654, May.
  6. Leonardo Gasparini & Santiago Pinto, 2005. "Equality of Opportunity and Optimal Cash and In-Kind Policies," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0022, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  7. Cattaneo, Matias D. & Galiano, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul J. & Martinez, Sebastian & Titiunik, Rocio, 2007. "Housing, health, and happiness," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4214, The World Bank.
  8. Sen, Amartya, 1999. "Commodities and Capabilities," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195650389, September.
  9. Takeuchi, Akie & Cropper, Maureen L. & Bento, Antonio M., 2007. "Measuring the Welfare Effects of Slum Improvement Programs: The Case of Mumbai," Working Papers 127020, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  10. Field, Erica Marie, 2005. "Property Rights and Investment in Urban Slums," Scholarly Articles 3634150, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Sebastian Galiani & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2005. "Property Rights for the Poor: Effects of Land Titling," Business School Working Papers proprightspoor, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  12. Erica Field, 2005. "Property Rights and Investment in Urban Slums," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 279-290, 04/05.
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Cited by:
  1. Benjamin Marx & Thomas Stoker & Tavneet Suri, 2013. "The Economics of Slums in the Developing World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 187-210, Fall.

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