NBER Working Papers by Ernesto Schargrodsky

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Working Papers

August 2016The Deregularization of Land Titles
with Sebastian Galiani: w22482
In the last years, several countries implemented policy interventions to entitle urban squatters, encouraged by the results of studies showing large welfare gains from entitlement. We study a natural experiment in the allocation of land titles to very poor families in a suburban area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although previous studies on this experiment have found important effects of titling on investment, household structure, educational achievement, and child health, in this article we document that a large fraction of households that went through a situation at which formalization was challenged (death, divorce, sale/purchase), ended up being de-regularized. The legal costs of remaining formal seem too high relative to the value of these parcels and the income of their inhabitants.

Published: Galiani Sebastian & Schargrodsky Ernesto, 2016. "The Deregularization of Land Titles," Man and the Economy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 169-188, December. citation courtesy of

December 2009Criminal Recidivism after Prison and Electronic Monitoring
with Rafael Di Tella: w15602
We study the re-arrest rates for two groups: individuals formerly in prison and individuals formerly under electronic monitoring (EM). We find that the recidivism rate of former prisoners is 22% while that for those 'treated' with electronic monitoring is 13% (40% lower). We convince ourselves that the estimates are causal using peculiarities of the Argentine setting. For example, we have almost as much information as the judges have when deciding on the allocation of EM; the program is rationed to only some offenders; and some institutional features (such as bad prison conditions) convert ideological differences across judges (to which detainees are randomly matched) into very large differences in the allocation of electronic monitoring.

Published: Di Tella, Rafael, and Ernesto Schargrodsky. "Criminal Recidivism after Prison and Electronic Monitoring." Journal of Political Economy vol. 121, no. 1 (February 2013). citation courtesy of

November 2008Reality versus Propaganda in the Formation of Beliefs about Privatization
with Rafael Di Tella, Sebastian Galiani: w14483
Argentina privatized most public utilities during the 1990's but re-nationalized the main water company in 2006. We study beliefs about the benefits of the privatization of water services amongst low and middle income groups immediately after the 2006 nationalization. Negative opinions about the privatization prevail. These are particularly strong amongst households that did not benefit from the privatization and amongst households that were reminded of the government's negative views about the privatization. A person's beliefs of the benefits of the water privatization were almost 30% more negative (relative to other privatizations) if his/her household did not gain access to water after the privatization. Similarly, a person's view of the water privatization (relative to other privatizat...

Published: Di Tella, Rafael & Galiani, Sebastian & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2012. "Reality versus propaganda in the formation of beliefs about privatization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 553-567. citation courtesy of

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