Publication

Effects of land titling on child health

Sebastian Galiani and Ernesto Schargrodsky , Economics & Human Biology 2(3) , 353-372 , December 2004.
Abstract:

This paper analyzes the impact of land titling on child health. The empirical evaluation of the effect of property rights typically suffers from selection problems. The paper addresses the selection issue by exploiting a natural experiment in the allocation of land titles. Twenty years ago, a group of squatters occupied a piece of privately owned land in a suburban area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. When the provincial Congress passed an expropriation law transferring the land from the former owners to the squatters, some of the former owners surrendered the land (and received compensation), while others decided to sue in the slow Argentine courts. These different decisions by the former owners generated an allocation of property rights that is exogenous to the characteristics of the squatters. This paper takes advantage of this natural experiment to evaluate the effect of the allocation of urban land property rights on child health. The results show that children in the titled parcels enjoy better nutrition and lower teenage pregnancy rates than those in the untitled parcels. 

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