Making Title Waves: Explaining Property Rights Emergence in Lima, Peru
Abstract: This paper applies and attempts to extend a "full" theory of property rights to the development of titling in Lima, Peru between the 1910s and the 1990s. In doing so, it reinterprets the demand-side analysis used in de Soto's The Other Path by analyzing the role different political regimes played in the titling process. Contrary to follow up studies of de Soto's work which examine the effects of property rights formation on economic performance, this research tackles a different problem. It takes the perspective of institutional history to ask why property rights developed as they did in Lima, Peru. As such, it views the titling programs de Soto's institute oversaw in Peru in the late 1980s and early 1990s not as the application of objective research but as endogenous to institutional evolution in Peru. Such an analysis has both theoretical and policy implications. It contributes to a full theory of property rights through an empirical study which further specifies political supply-side components such as the definition, interpretation, and enforcement of property rights. The study also contributes to a framework for understanding when titling programs may or may not work given the political conditions of supply.