Research on Registering Property

Doing Business considers the following list of papers as relevant for research on registering property. Some papers—denoted with an asterisk (*)—use Doing Business data for their empirical analysis. If we've missed any important research, please let us know.

Author(s): Daniel Berkowitz

Journal: Journal of Financial Economics

Abstract: This paper considers a property law enactment that gave creditors more rights over the assets underlying their secured loans to private firms and gave private firms more protections against the potential expropriation of their assets. We find that this property law enactment led to a significant increase in firm value. We also find that the law?s impact on value was more profound for firms with more tangible assets, lower internal cash flows, and stronger growth opportunities, and less profound for politically connected firms. Taken together, our findings confirm the importance of property rights protection in enhancing firm value.

Author(s): Allendorf, Keera

Journal: World Development,Volume 35, Issue 11, Pages 1975?1988, November 2007

Abstract: Women?s land rights are increasingly put forth as a means to promote development by empowering women, increasing productivity, and improving welfare. However, little empirical research has evaluated these claims. This paper uses the 2001 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey to explore whether women?s land rights empower women and benefit young children?s health in Nepal. The results provide support for both of these hypotheses. Women who own land are significantly more likely to have the final say in household decisions, a measure of empowerment. Similarly, children of mothers who own land are significantly less likely to be severely underweight.

Author(s): Erica Field

Journal: The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 122, No. 4, Pages 1561-1602, 2007

Abstract: Between 1996 and 2003, the Peruvian government issued property titles to over 1.2 million urban households, the largest titling program targeted at urban squatters in the developing world. This paper examines the labor market effects of increases in tenure security resulting from the program. To isolate the causal role of ownership rights, I make use of differences across regions induced by the timing of the program and differences across target populations in level of preprogram ownership rights. 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.

Author(s): Miletkov, Mihail; Wintoki, M. Babajide

Journal: Emerging Markets Review, Volume 13, Issue 4, Pages 650-673, December 2012

Abstract: Using a panel of 129 countries over the period from 1965 to 2008, we examine the role of financial development in the evolution of property rights and legal institutions. We postulate that changes in the level of financial development change the costs and benefits of, and the demand for property rights institutions. We predict, and find, a positive causal relationship between the level of financial development and the subsequent quality of property rights institutions, even after we control for country level heterogeneity and reverse causality. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that this relationship is especially strong in emerging market countries.

Author(s): Stijn Claessens and Luc Laeven

Journal: Journal of Finance, 58 (6): 2401-36, 2003

Abstract: In countries with more secure property rights, firms might allocate resources better and consequentially grow faster as the returns on different types of assets are more protected against competitors' actions. Using data on sectoral value added for a large number of countries, we find evidence consistent with better property rights leading to higher growth through improved asset allocation. Quantitatively, the growth effect is as large as that of improved access to financing due to greater financial development. Our results are robust using various samples and specifications, including controlling for growth opportunities.

Author(s): Christiansen, Lone; Schindler, Martin; Tressel, Thierry

Journal: Journal of International Economics, Volume 89, Issue 2, Pages 347-356, March 2013

Abstract: This paper presents a simultaneous assessment of the relationship between economic performance and three groups of economic reforms: domestic finance, trade, and the capital account. Domestic financial reforms and trade reforms are robustly associated with economic growth, but only in middle-income countries. In contrast, there is no evidence of a systematic positive relationship between capital account liberalization and economic growth. Moreover, the effect of domestic financial reforms on economic growth in middle-income countries is accounted for by improvements in measured aggregate TFP growth, not by higher aggregate investment Additional analysis suggests that sufficiently developed property rights are a precondition for reaping the benefits of financial and trade reforms. Our results are robust to endogeneity bias and a number of alternative specifications.

Author(s): Robert Cull, Lixin Colin Xu

Journal: Journal of Financial Economics, Volume 77, Issue 1, Pages 117-146, 2005

Abstract: Johnson et al. (2002. American Economic Review 92 (5), 1335?1356) examine the relative importance of property rights and external finance in several Eastern European countries. They find property rights to be overwhelmingly important, while external  finance explains little of firm reinvestment. McMillan andWoodruff (2002. Journal of Economic Perspectives 16 (3), 153?170) further conjecture that as transition moves along, market-supporting (financial) institutions should become more important. This paper reexamines those issues in the context of China in 2002, when the transition had moved far. We also find that secure property rights are a significant predictor of firm reinvestment. However, in line with McMillan and Woodruff, we find that access to external finance in the form of bank loans is also associated with more reinvestment. Following Acemoglu and Johnson (2003. Unbundling institutions. Unpublished working paper 9934, National Bureau of Economic Research, we separate our proxies for the security of property rights into two groups:those measuring the risk of expropriation by the government and those measuring the ease and reliability of contract enforcement. Whereas those authors cross-country results suggest that risk of expropriation is the more severe impediment to economic development, ours indicate that both expropriation risk and contract enforcement play a role in Chinese firms? reinvestment decisions. We also find that another aspect of property rights, the extent of private ownership, is associated with greater reinvestment. At China's current stage of development, expropriation risk, contract enforcement, access to finance, and ownership structure all appear to matter for reinvestment decisions. Some evidence also exists that access to finance and government expropriation affect small firms more than large ones.

Author(s): Hanan G. Jacoby and Bart Minten

Journal: The World Bank Economic Review 2007 21(3):461-485; doi:10.1093/wber/lhm011

Abstract: Formalizing land rights has been promoted as a way to encourage agricultural investment and stimulate land markets, yet little is known about the benefits of such policies in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the preconditions for success are less favorable. The analysis uses a large sample of plots from an intensively titled rice-growing area of Madagascar and compares land-specific investments, land productivity, and land values for titled and untitled plots cultivated by the same household. Having a title has no significant effect on plot-specific investment and correspondingly little effect on land productivity and land values. These results are broadly consistent with a simulation of a theoretical model of investment under expropriation risk calibrated to the same data. A cost?benefit analysis suggests that the current system of formal titling should not be extended in rural Madagascar and that any new system of land registration would have to be quite inexpensive to be worthwhile.

Author(s): Timothy Besley and Robin Burgess

Journal: Quarterly Journal of Economics 115 (2) 389-430, 2000

Abstract: In recent times there has been a renewed interest in relationships between redistribution, growth and welfare. Land reforms have been central to strategies to improve the asset base of the poor in developing countries though their effectiveness has been hindered by political constraints on implementation. In this paper we use panel data on the sixteen main Indian states from 1958 to 1992 to consider whether the large volume of land reforms as have been legislated have had an appreciable impact on growth and poverty. The evidence presented suggests that land reforms do appear to be associated with poverty reduction.

Author(s): Klaus Deininger and Gershon Feder

Journal: The World Bank Research Observer 2009 24(2): 233-266; doi:10.1093/wbro/lkp007

Abstract: The developmental impact of institutions to establish and maintain secure property rights to land has been a subject of much debate. The authors review the literature on the impact of land administration interventions in specific contexts, highlighting the dependence of outcomes on the governance environment, the effectiveness of the state apparatus, and the distribution of socio-economic power. There is evidence, albeit not uniform, of enhancement of tenure security through land registration with benefits manifesting themselves in higher levels of investment and productivity and a reduced need to defend land rights. Land registration has also been shown to increase activity in land rental markets, leading to higher efficiency overall. Evidence of improved access to credit, due to formalization of land rights, is scant. Even in situations where land registration had positive benefits, the literature contains little rigorous analysis of cost-effectiveness and long-term sustainability of impacts. The authors conclude that formalization of land rights should not be viewed as a panacea and that interventions should be decided only after a careful diagnosis of the policy, social, and governance environment. If intervention is justified, the performance of land administration systems needs to be benchmarked in terms of coverage, cost-effectiveness, and quality of service provision.

Author(s): Simon Johnson, John McMillan, and Christopher Woodruff

Journal: The American Economic Review, Volume 92, Issue 5, Pages 1335-1356, December 2002

Abstract: Which is the tighter constraint on private sector investment: weak property rights or limited access to external finance? From a survey of new firms in post communist countries, we find that weak property rights discourage firms from reinvesting their profits, even when bank loans are available.Where property rights are relatively strong, firms reinvest their profits; where they are relatively weak, entrepreneurs do not want to invest from retained earnings.

Author(s): Erica Field

Journal: Journal of the European Economic Association (2?3): 279?90, 2006

Abstract: This paper examines the effect of changes in tenure security on residential investment in urban squatter neighborhoods. To address the endogeneity of property rights, I make use of variation in ownership status induced by a nationwide titling program in Peru. In a difference-in-difference analysis, I compare the change in housing investment before and after the program among participating households to the change in investment among two samples of nonparticipants. My results indicate that strengthening property rights in urban slums has a significant effect on residential investment: the rate of housing renovation rises by more than two-thirds of the baseline level. The bulk of the increase is financed without the use of credit, indicating that changes over time reflect an increase in investment incentives related to lower threat of eviction.

Author(s): Timothy Besley

Journal: Journal of Political Economy, 103 (5): 903-937, 1995

Abstract: This paper examines the link between property rights and investment incentives. I develop three theoretical arguments based on security of tenure, using land as collateral and obtaining gains from trade. The paper then presents empirical evidence from two regions in Ghana. I investigate the possibility that rights are endogenous, with farmers making improvements to enhance their land rights. Finally, I suggest tests for which of the theories might explain the results.

Author(s): Benito Arrunada and Nuno Garoupa

Journal: The Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 48 (October 2005)

Abstract: This paper analyzes the choice of the socially optimal titling system assuming rational individual choices about recording, assurance, and registration decisions. It focuses on the enforcement of property rights to land under private titling and the two existing public titling systems, recording and registration. When the reduction in the expected costs of forfeiture balances the higher cost of initial registration, a registration system is more efficient than a recording system. Implications for title assurance, land improvements, and transactions are also considered.

Author(s): Thomas J. Miceli and Joseph Kieyah

Journal: Journal of Comparative Economics 31 (2): 246-256, 2003

Abstract: This paper develops a model of land title reform in which the voluntary adoption of a new system is not likely to be successful, even if the new system Pareto dominates the existing one. The problem is an externality that prevents individual landowners from internalizing fully the benefits of the new system. Some evidence is presented based on historic efforts to institute land registration in the United States and England. Implications are also drawn for ongoing attempts by developing countries to establish formal property rights systems for land in support of a policy to spur economic growth.

Author(s): Josh Lerner

Journal: Small Business Economics

Abstract: The promotion of new high-potential business ventures and venture capital is of critical importance to economic growth. Well-considered policies can profoundly influence such opportunities, but many public initiatives are misguided. This article reviews the evidence behind these claims, as well as the criteria that can delineate appropriate and inappropriate policies towards the promotion of venture capital and high-potential entrepreneurship.

Author(s): Bose, Niloy; Murshid, Antu Panini; Wurm, Martin A.

Journal: World Development, Volume 40, Issue 9, Pages 1784-1797, September 2012

Abstract: Using a variety of statistical approaches, we show that the relationship between property rights and growth is nonlinear; stronger enforcement of property rights raises growth up to a point before growth begins to decline. We provide a simple theoretical rationale for this conclusion using a model with informational asymmetries in the financial sector. Stronger property rights have two opposing effects. On the one hand it increases capital formation and growth. On the other hand it encourages bad borrowing practices. Thus there exists an optimal level of property rights which maximizes growth. However, as financial markets mature, the negative effects associated with stronger property rights become weaker.

Author(s): Caroline Freund and Bineswaree Bolaky

Journal: Journal of Development Economics, Volume 87, Issue 2, October 2008, Pages 309-321

Abstract: We examine the relationship between openness and per-capita income using cross-country data from 126 countries. We find that trade leads to a higher standard of living in flexible economies, but not in rigid economies. Business regulation, especially on firm entry, is more important than financial development, higher education, or rule of law as a complementary policy to trade liberalization. Specifically, after controlling for the standard determinants of per-capita income, our results imply that a 1% increase in trade is associated with more than a one-half percent rise in per-capita income in economies that facilitate firm entry, but has no positive income effects in more rigid economies. The findings are consistent with Schumpeterian ?creative destruction?, which highlights the importance of new business entry in economic performance, and with previous firm-level studies showing that the beneficial effects of trade liberalization come largely from an intra-sectoral reallocation of resources.

Author(s): Mitton, Todd

Journal: Journal of Development Economics

Abstract: I study determinants of economic development in a new dataset covering 1867 subnational regions from 101 countries, focusing on within-country effects of geography and institutions. Several geographic factors have significant explanatory power for within-country differences in per-capita GDP, including terrain ruggedness, tropical climate, ocean access, temperature range, storm risk, and natural resources such as oil, diamonds, or iron. Institutions have a significant positive effect on income among subnational regions with greater autonomy, suggesting that strong subnational institutions enhance development when not dominated by national institutions

Author(s): Ayalew Ali, Daniel;  Deininger, Klaus; Duponchel, Marguerite 

Journal: World Bank Economic Review 

Abstract: Rwanda’s completion, in 2012/13, of a land tenure regularization program covering the entire country allows the use of administrative data to describe initial performance and combine the data with household surveys to quantify to what extent and why subsequent transfers remain informal, and how to address this. In 2014/15, annual volumes of registered sales ranged between 5.6 percent for residential land in Kigali and 0.1 percent for agricultural land in the rest of the country; and US$2.6 billion worth of mortgages were secured against land and property. Yet, informality of transfers in rural areas remains high. Decentralized service provision and information campaigns help reduce but not eliminate the extent of informality. A strategy to test the efficacy of different approaches to ensure full registration, scale up promising ones, and rigorously monitor the effect of doing so is described