In the developing world, collective land titling has become an important tool for recognizing the historical presence of ethnic communities and safeguarding their rights to occupy and manage their territories. However, little is known about the average impact of these titling processes on the well-being of these communities. In this paper we attempt to estimate the impact of collective land titling in territories inhabited by Afro-descendent communities in Colombia. We compare rural districts in titled areas with rural districts in untitled areas that are similar in all the relevant observable characteristics. We find that the collective titling process in the Chocó region has caused an increase in average household per capita income, a decrease in extreme poverty, larger investments in housing, higher attendance rates among children in primary education, and a decrease in housing overcrowding. Our results suggest that collective land titling creates a more secure natural resource base and a longer time horizon for households in collective territories, which leads to investment in their private physical and human capital.
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