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Land title program in Brazil: Are there any changes to happiness?


  • de Moura, Mauricio Jose Serpa Barros
  • da Silveira Bueno, Rodrigo De Losso


This paper investigates the contribution of property rights (land title ownership) to happiness in Brazil by analyzing the household response to an exogenous change in formal ownership status. It uses a quasi-experimental design to analyze a unique dataset based on Papel Passado, a Brazilian government land-titling program affecting over 85,000 families. The causal role of legal ownership is isolated by comparing two geographically close and demographically similar communities in Osasco, a town of 650,000 people in the São Paulo metropolitan area, where some residential units were allocated property titles and others were not. Survey data were collected from households in both types of units before and after the granting of land titles, with neither type knowing ex ante whether it would receive land titles. The multinomial probit technique was applied and the results show that land title ownership increases by 13 points the probability of a household qualifying for a happier group. Furthermore, it decreases 21 points the probability of belonging to the “lower level” group.

Suggested Citation

  • de Moura, Mauricio Jose Serpa Barros & da Silveira Bueno, Rodrigo De Losso, 2013. "Land title program in Brazil: Are there any changes to happiness?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 196-203.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:45:y:2013:i:c:p:196-203 DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2013.04.007

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Property rights; Land titling; Happiness; Probit model;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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