Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

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

Michele Valsecchi ()
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Michele Valsecchi: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Postal: Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG

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

JEL-codes: D23; F22; Q15

44 pages, April 19, 2010

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