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Land tenure formalisation in Dar es Salaam: institutional transition through endogenous social interactions

Manara, Martina (2020) Land tenure formalisation in Dar es Salaam: institutional transition through endogenous social interactions. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004303


This thesis investigates the implementation of two land titling projects offering interim and full statutory property rights in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. As in many other African cities, these projects encounter severe challenges of implementation and the land management remains predominantly informal. This work examines how local institutions, social relations and public authority affect the transition to formal property. The thesis is composed of four papers drawing on interdisciplinary literature and an innovative combination of methods. Papers 1 and 2 examine how social relations influence the demand for interim property rights. Using econometric analysis of administrative data, paper 1 finds evidence of neighbourhood effects suggesting that neighbours influence their early choices of formalisation. Through institutional analysis and primary survey data, paper 2 concludes that coordination is the result of an informal institution: a descriptive norm that prescribes formalisation conditional on the behaviour and advice of others. Papers 3 and 4 interrogate the role of the local public authority for the construction of and the transition to formal property. Based on in-depth interviews and ethnographic data, paper 3 shows that local leaders are essential to legitimise and operationalise the formal property apparatus, specifically the cadastral map and database. Drawing on two lab-in-the-field experiments, paper 4 suggests that leaders hold accurate knowledge on the local demand for full statutory rights, which could be leveraged to inform better pricing strategies. Overall, the thesis contributes to an institutional approach to land tenure formalisation by quantifying and qualifying how endogenous social interactions mediate the transition to formal property. In so doing, the study adds to literature on the implementation of urban land titling policies, the demand for land titles and the formality-informality nexus in developing cities. Furthermore, the thesis provides policy recommendations of current relevance as urban formalisation remains a key government priority.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Martina Manara
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Silva, Olmo and Mercer, Claire

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