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Shelter from the Storm: Upgrading Housing Infrastructure in Latin American Slums

46 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2013 Last revised: 10 Feb 2015

Sebastian Galiani

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Paul J. Gertler

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ryan Cooper

Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL)

Sebastian Martinez

World Bank

Adam Ross

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Raimundo Undurraga

New York University (NYU)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 9, 2015

Abstract

This paper provides empirical evidence on the causal effects that upgrading slum dwellings has on the living conditions of the extremely poor. In particular, we study the impact of providing better houses in situ to slum dwellers in El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay. We experimentally evaluate the impact of a housing project run by the NGO TECHO which provides basic pre-fabricated houses to members of extremely poor population groups in Latin America. The main objective of the program is to improve household well-being. Our findings show that better houses have a positive effect on overall housing conditions and general well-being: treated households are happier with their quality of life. In two countries, we also document improvements in children’s health; in El Salvador, slum dwellers also feel that they are safer. We do not find this result, however, in the other two experimental samples. There are no other noticeable robust effects on the possession of durable goods or in terms of labor outcomes. Our results are robust in terms of both internal and external validity because they are derived from similar experiments in three different Latin American countries.

Keywords: Housing, Poverty and RCTs

JEL Classification: O00, D63, C93

Suggested Citation

Galiani, Sebastian and Gertler, Paul J. and Cooper, Ryan and Martinez, Sebastian and Ross, Adam and Undurraga, Raimundo, Shelter from the Storm: Upgrading Housing Infrastructure in Latin American Slums (February 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2296901 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2296901

Sebastian Galiani (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Paul Gertler

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-1418 (Phone)
510-642-4700 (Fax)

Ryan Cooper

Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) ( email )

66 bis avenue Jean Moulin
Paris, 75014
France

Sebastian Martinez

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Adam Ross

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ( email )

P.O. Box 23350
Seattle, WA 98102
United States

Raimundo Undurraga

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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