Evaluating the impact of Land Administration Programs on agricultural productivity and rural development
Investment in land administration projects is often considered key for agricultural productivity and rural development. The evidence on such interventions is however remarkably mixed. This paper discusses a number of challenges and derives related guidelines for the impact evaluation of land administration programs. We focus on four types of challenges: 1) a conceptual challenge related to the need to unbundle property rights and to establish the plausible causal chain for land administration interventions; 2) the existence of other binding constraints on productivity, implying the need to consider the complementarity between property rights and other productive interventions; 3) methodological challenges related to the causal identification of the impacts of such interventions; 4) practical and operational challenges for good impact evaluation on land administration, which are often operationally complex and politically sensitive. The paper is specifically written with a focus on land administration projects in Latin America, and draws from experiences and lessons learned from impact evaluations designed for the IDB, and other donors-funded land administration projects in the region.