Fertility Responses to Land Titling Programs: The Roles of Ownership Security and the Distribution of Household Assets

This paper examines the link between intra-household allocation of ownership rights and fertility using data from a nation-wide titling program in Peru. A stated objective of the program was to improve gender inequality of property ownership by including female names on land titles. I use data from the target population of urban poor to study whether improvements in ownership equality were associated with changes in household decision-making and fertility behavior. I find that women in program regions are 50% more likely to appear as owners on property documents and 30% more likely to participate in household decision-making. My estimates indicate that land titling is also associated with a significant and sharp reduction in annual births among program beneficiaries of 21% in the year prior to the survey, and a 19% reduction in birth rates two years prior to the survey among households titled early in the program. Meanwhile, annual birth rates corresponding to children two years and older exhibit no significant differences according to whether the household resides in an early program neighborhood and is eligible for participation, consistent with the hypothesis that the program is responsible for the trend. In addition to changes in female ownership, three other channels of impact are examined: the effect of titling on household labor force participation, wealth, and tenure-security related demand for children. Instrumental variables estimates provide evidence that increases in female bargaining power are at least partially responsible for the fertility decline associated with titling.

Field (2003)

Topic:

Difference in differences with 1997 household survey (LSMS). Land titling.Peru's national land titling program led to a significant increase in the incidence of women's names on property documents and in women's decision-making power within the home. It also led to fertility declines.http://www1.worldbank.org/prem/poverty/ie/dime_papers/385.pdf2,750 female-headed households and 4,433 women.