Title

Land titles and violent conflict in rural Mexico

Publication Date

2019

Security Theme

Economic Stability

Keywords

srhreports, economicstability, country-mexico, Ejido, Land reform, Mexico, Property rights, Violence

Description

© 2019 Better enforcement of property rights reduces the incentives to engage in violent competition over resources. At the same time, greater tenure security may disrupt a key mechanism for political and social control, the discretionary allocation of land by local authorities, also potentially affecting the level of violence. We investigate the effect of a land certification program, which produced exogenous variation in tenure security, on violent deaths in Mexico's rural municipalities from 1993 to 2007. We find that land titles significantly decrease violent deaths on average. However, this reduction is present only in municipalities where the dominant political party has never lost an election. If all ejidos had been certified instantaneously in 1993, our estimates give a 12.8% reduction in homicides, pointing to a large social cost of having land as a political tool.

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Land titles and violent conflict in rural Mexico

© 2019 Better enforcement of property rights reduces the incentives to engage in violent competition over resources. At the same time, greater tenure security may disrupt a key mechanism for political and social control, the discretionary allocation of land by local authorities, also potentially affecting the level of violence. We investigate the effect of a land certification program, which produced exogenous variation in tenure security, on violent deaths in Mexico's rural municipalities from 1993 to 2007. We find that land titles significantly decrease violent deaths on average. However, this reduction is present only in municipalities where the dominant political party has never lost an election. If all ejidos had been certified instantaneously in 1993, our estimates give a 12.8% reduction in homicides, pointing to a large social cost of having land as a political tool.