Entitled to Work: Urban Property Rights and Labor Supply in Peru
Over the past decade, the Peruvian government has issued property titles to over 1.2 million urban households, the largest government titling program targeted to urban squatters in the developing world. This paper examines the labor market effects of increases in tenure security resulting from the program. In particular, I study the direct impact of securing a property title on hours of work, substitution of home for market work and substitution of adult for child labor. To isolate the causal role of ownership security I make use of differences across regions induced by the timing of the program and differences across target populations in the level of pre-program tenure security. My estimates suggest that titling results in a substantial increase in labor hours, a shift in labor supply away from work at home to work in the outside market and substitution of adult for child labor. For the average squatter family, granting of a property title is associated with a 17% increase in total household work hours, a 47% decrease in the probability of working inside the home, and a 28% reduction in the probability of child labor.
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