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Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg Working Papers in Economics

No 440:
Land Certification and International Migration: Evidence from Mexico

Michele Valsecchi ()

Abstract: In this paper we ask whether there is a relationship between property rights and international migration. In order to identify the impact of property rights, we consider a country-wide land certification program, which took place in Mexico throughout the 1990s, and complemented the 1992 Agrarian Law. Our identifica- tion strategy exploits the timing of the program and the heterogeneity in farmers’ eligibility into the program. We find that the change in de facto property rights is associated with a 9-16 percent increase in the likelihood of having a member abroad. The program explains a small but relevant share of the increase in migration to the United States which Mexico experienced throughout the 1990s. In this respect, we add to the current debate on the causes of Mexican migration (Hanson 2006, Hanson and McIntosh 2009, Hanson and McIntosh forthcoming).

Keywords: International migration; property rights; land titling; land reform; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D23; F22; Q15; (follow links to similar papers)

44 pages, April 19, 2010

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