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Can collective property rights foster development? Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment in Colombia


  • Joaquín Daniel Ramírez-Cabarcas


I estimate the effect of collective property rights on development in rural Colombia in the context of a case study. In the 1990s, the Colombian government started one of the most ambitious land re-orderings in Latin America, which titled collective property rights to Afro-Colombian communities throughout the Colombian Pacific. I take advantage of a historical accident in these titling processes, which delayed the collective land titling of one community for 16 years until November 2015, one year after the Colombian National Agricultural Census 2014 (CNA). With the CNA data, I use the delayed community as counterfactual for its titled neighbours, and use spatial regression discontinuity with the borders between communities, largely determined by proximity to river basins. In the context of this case study, I find that farms in collectively titled communities have higher agricultural yield by 6 percentage points, devote more farm area share to perennial crops by 28 percentage points, and have 18 percentage points higher school attendance. I suggest these results could be a consequence of a higher motivation of farmers in titled territories to invest in their land, along with collective forms of production to provide labor among poor farmers.

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  • Joaquín Daniel Ramírez-Cabarcas, 2022. "Can collective property rights foster development? Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment in Colombia," Documentos CEDE 20327, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:020327

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Property rights; Communal lands; Land reform;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • P48 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • P32 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Collectives; Communes; Agricultural Institutions
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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