Tema: : Who Benefits From Individual Property Rights? The Long-Term Impacts Of Individual Property Rights In An Indigenous Territory
Presenta: Felipe Jordán (PUC)
Individual property rights can improve economic efficiency but may simultaneously expose marginalized groups to dispossession. This paper quantifies the long-term impacts of individual property rights on the material conditions of the Mapuche, the largest indigenous group in Chile. We leverage a spatial discontinuity in courts’ capacity to divide reservations between 1931 and 1951 as an instrument for the allocation of individual property rights. By 1951, reservations assigned to high-capacity courts were 74 pp more likely to have been divided, transitioning from a system of usufructuary rights over communally-held titles to private ownership of land. Over the following three decades, individual property rights led to a dramatic decline in Mapuche control over land including through illicit dispossession, while simultaneously improving the efficiency of land and labor allocation. We show that these changes led to net increases in the average material conditions of Mapuche households, both within former reservation areas, and among Mapuche descendants who had migrated to other parts of Chile. However, descendants from reservations exposed to a greater risk of dispossession experienced declines in material conditions, indicating that dispossession had a multi-generational impact on many Mapuche households.
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