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Delinking Land Rights from Land Use: Certification and Migration in Mexico

Listed author(s):
  • Alain de Janvry
  • Kyle Emerick
  • Marco Gonzalez-Navarro
  • Elisabeth Sadoulet

In many developing countries property rights over rural land are maintained through continuous personal use instead of by land titles. We show that removing the link between land use and land rights through the issuance of ownership certificates can result in large-scale adjustments to labor and land allocations. Using the rollout of the Mexican land certification program from 1993 to 2006, we find that households obtaining certificates were subsequently 28 percent more likely to have a migrant member. We also show that even though land certification induced migration, it had little effect on cultivated area due to consolidation of farm units. (JEL O13, O17, P14, Q15, Q18, Q24, Q28)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 105 (2015)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
Pages: 3125-3149

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:10:p:3125-49
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20130853
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  1. Leight, Jessica, 2016. "Reallocating wealth? Insecure property rights and agricultural investment in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 207-227.
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  12. de Janvry, Alain & Gonzalez-Navarro, Marco & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2014. "Are land reforms granting complete property rights politically risky? Electoral outcomes of Mexico's certification program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 216-225.
  13. Klaus Deininger, 2003. "Land Policies for Growth and Poverty Reduction," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15125, September.
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  19. Gordillo de Anda, Gustavo & Janvry, Alain de & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1998. "Entre el control político y la eficiencia: evolución de los derechos de propiedad agraria en México," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.
  20. Alston, Lee J & Libecap, Gary D & Schneider, Robert, 1996. "The Determinants and Impact of Property Rights: Land Titles on the Brazilian Frontier," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 25-61, April.
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