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

47 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2013 Last revised: 19 May 2015

See all articles by Sebastian Galiani

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

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Adam Ross

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Raimundo Undurraga

New York University (NYU)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2013

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.

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 (August 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19322. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2311571

Sebastian Galiani (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Paul J. Gertler

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

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Ryan Cooper

Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) ( email )

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France

Sebastian Martinez

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Ave
Washington, DC 20011
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
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New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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