Tenure Security and Household Labor Decisions: The Effect of Property Titling on Labor Force Participation in Urban Ecuador
Since the 1960s, Latin America has experienced rapid urbanization and an accompanying proliferation of informal housing settlements. In recent decades, governments have started to systematically title informal communities within their cities. Research has demonstrated various benefits associated with property titles, but there is limited research on how titles affect households' labor force participation decisions. I expand on studies done in Peru (Field 2002, 2003) that found that households in titled properties work more aggregate hours, are more likely to work outside the home, and are less likely to use child labor than untitled households. My research tests this relationship in two cities in Ecuador, a country comparable to Peru, but with a different titling program and a different informal settling patterns. I find there is no significant difference in aggregate weekly household labor hours between titled and untitled households, that titled households are 42 percentage points more likely to have at least one adult member work primarily inside the house, and that titled households are 6 percentage points less likely to use child labor to contribute to household income. Despite differences from previous studies, my results suggest that labor effects associated with titling do exist and are an important area for further study.
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