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How does gender affect the perceived security of land and property rights? Evidence from 33 countries

Joseph Feyertag, Malcolm Childress, Ian Langdown, Anna Locke and Denys Nizalov

Land Use Policy, 2021, vol. 104, issue C

Abstract: Secure tenure over women’s land and property rights is increasingly considered an important means to promote economic, social and even environmental outcomes. Where gender-unequal tenure security exists, promoting women’s land and property rights is therefore a key component of SDGs 1.4.2 and 5.a.1, which call for gender-equal access and security of resources, including housing and land. Both development goals acknowledge that measuring men and women’s self-perceived tenure security is an important way of monitoring progress, but until recently there has been a lack of consistent and comparative global data on this front. In this paper, we analyse the perception data of 28,132 women and 25,048 men in 33 countries to assess potential gender imbalances. We find that overall, men and women’s perceived tenure security does not differ significantly. However, significant in-country differences exist that can in part be explained by gender-differentiated sources of insecurity. Women are more likely to feel threatened by internal sources of insecurity from within the family or the community, particularly when faced with scenarios of divorce or spousal death over the long-term expected duration of their tenure. Men, in turn, are significantly more likely to cite external sources of insecurity such as government expropriation or private investment in the near- or middle-term. Furthermore, the results of our models suggest that the possession of (named) formal property rights documentation may be effective in protecting both men and women from external threats, but not internal ones. Formalisation of property rights therefore needs to be complemented with measures that tackle the day-to-day denial of women’s rights within families, communities and societies.

Keywords: Land rights; Property rights; Gender; Perceived tenure security; Economic behaviour; Subjective data; Eviction; Development economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105299

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