Monday, June 30, 2008
The Journal of Land Use Policy has an article in press by Daniel W. Bromley (Wisconsin, Applied Economics) called Formalising Property Relations in the Developing World: The Wrong Prescription for the Wrong Malady. I can't find a link now, but will post one if it becomes available [UPDATE: Link Posted]. Here's the abstract:
Formalisation of property relations through the registration of land and the issuance of titles is but the latest in a long history of optimistic policy prescriptions imposed on the poor nations of theworld. As with the discreditedWashington Consensus, the imperative of formalisation flows from the flawed inductive logic that says” “rich countries have formalised tenure, therefore formalisation of tenure will help make you rich.”Unfortunately,empirical research on formalisation of tenure as a stimulus to agricultural investment is unable to establish any robust and reliable connection between “more secure” tenure and enhanced agricultural productivity. Urban slum dwellers who get titles but who are without work cannot possibly leverage credit from the banking sector. Formalisation erodes and displaces existing social networks and arrangements that do offer security. Formalisation offers little assurance that beneficial outcomes are inevitable. As with a long list of previous simple solutions to complex problems, this too shall pass.
This should be of interest to folks who are interested in Hernando de Soto's work (either pro or con).
[Comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]