Waylaid Dialectic

May 18, 2014

The Foundations of Modern Conservative Thought

Filed under: Random Musings — terence @ 10:11 am

a depressingly common human failing I suspect…

Galiani and Schargrodsky (2004, 2010) provide an interesting example on the effects of extending property titles to poor squatters in Argentina. In 1981, squatters organized by the Catholic Church occupied an urban wasteland in the province of Buenos Aires, dividing the land into similar-sized parcels that were then allocated to individual families. A 1984 law, adopted after the return to democracy in 1983, expropriated this land, with the intention of transferring title to the squatters. However, some of the original owners then challenged the expropriation in court, leading to long delays in the transfer of titles to the plots owned by those owners, while other titles were ceded and transferred to squatters immediately. The legal action therefore created a “treatment” group—squatters to whom titles were ceded immediately—and a “control” group—squatters to whom titles were not ceded.12 Galiani and Schargrodsky (2004, 2010) find significant differences across these groups in subsequent housing investment, household structure, and educational attainment of children—though not in access to credit markets, which contradicts De Soto’s theory that the poor will use titled property to collateralize debt. They also find a positive effect of property rights on self-perceptions of individual efficacy. For instance, squatters who were granted land titles—for reasons over which they apparently had no control!—disproportionately agreed with statements that people get ahead in life due to hard work (Di Tella, Galiani, and Schargrodsky 2007).

from Dunning (2012-08-31). Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences (Strategies for Social Inquiry) (p. 10). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.


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