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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Ryan Cooper & Sebastian Martinez & Adam Ross & Raimundo Undurraga, 2013. "Shelter from the Storm: Upgrading Housing Infrastructure in Latin American Slums," NBER Working Papers 19322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19322 Note: DEV
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Baum-Snow, Nathaniel & Ferreira, Fernando, 2015. "Causal Inference in Urban and Regional Economics," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    2. 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.
    3. Simon Franklin, 2015. "Enabled to Work: The Impact of Government Housing on Slum Dwellers in South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-10, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    4. Simon Franklin, 2016. "Enabled to Work: The Impact of Government Housing on Slum Dwellers in South Africa," SERC Discussion Papers 0197, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    5. Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Charlotte Guénard, 2016. "Quel impact des projets de réhabilitation urbaine sur les conditions de vie ? Le cas d’un bidonville à Djibouti," Working Papers 20160002, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, UMR Développement et Sociétés.

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    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • O0 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General

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