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THE IMPACT OF LAND TITLING ON LAND TRANSACTION ACTIVITY AND
REGISTRATION SYSTEM SUSTAINABILITY: A CASE STUDY OF ST. LUCIA
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
To Ainsley, Aidan and Tristan.
I owe a great deal of gratitude to my advisor, Professor Grenville Barnes, and to the
other members of my academic advisory committee: Professor Bon Dewitt and Professor
David Gibson of the Geomatics program, and Professor Marianne Schmink and Professor
Thomas Ankersen. Without their knowledge and guidance this work would not have
I thank Professor Grenville Barnes, not only for allowing me to benefit from his
vast international experience in cadastral research, but also for arranging for my working
with Dr. Peter C. Bloch and Dr. Susana Lastarria-Cornheil of the Land Tenure Center of
the University of Wisconsin, Madison on the St. Lucia leg of a development proj ect
assessment exercise funded by USAID. This work not only provided funding for the data
acquisition phase of my research, but also allowed me to work with persons who are
dedicated to research on land titling and land registration proj ects internationally. I also
thank Rufinus Baptiste and Celsus Baptiste, land surveyor and valuation surveyor
respectively, of St. Lucia, for contributing to making my stay in St. Lucia, in the data
acquisition phase, both productive and enj oyable. I also thank the various professionals
in St. Lucia who answered my many questions, and the beautiful people who responded
to my questionnaires with warmth and friendliness while trying their best to teach me
how to speak patois.
I acknowledge the Fulbright Foundation and LASPAU, the agency that manages
the Fulbright programs, for without the Fulbright scholarship grant my two years of full-
time study would not have been financially possible. I also thank the persons at
LASPAU, with whom I interacted on a continuous basis via e-mail, for their prompt
assistance with financial anxieties.
I acknowledge The University of the West Indies for allowing me the study leave
to pursue my education.
I also thank my fellow graduate students at the University of Florida: Levent Genc
and Mark Lee for offering the benefit of their own doctoral study experiences, and
Bharath, Sachin, Giri, Eben, and my other fellow graduate students for their friendship.
Last of all, I wish to profusely thank my husband, Ainsley, my parents Russel and
Reva, and my sister and brothers, Celina, Hugh and Peter, for providing much needed
emotional support during this arduous task. I also thank my sons Aidan and Tristan who
unknowingly supported me with their infectious and boundless energy when I felt that I
had none left.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. .................... iv
LIST OF TABLES ............_...... ._ ...............x....
LIST OF FIGURES ............_...... ._ ..............xiii...
AB STRAC T ................ .............. xvii
1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......
Background ................... .. .......... .. ... ........ ...... .........1
Definitions in Land Titling and Land Registration............... ..............
Justification for the Research............... ...............3
Research Problems............... ...............9
Research Questions............... ...............9
Research Methodology .............. ...............9.....
Organization of Dissertation............... .............1
2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF LAND TITLINTG PROGRAMS AND LAND
REGISTRATION SY STEMS .............. ...............14....
Development Theories............... ...............14
Property and Tenure Theories .............. ........ ... ...... .. .... .......1
Individualization of Tenure--Economic Aspects of Property Rights ...............17
History of individualization ................ ................ ......... ...._ 17
Description of individualization ........._.._.... .. ....._.._ ......__. ...........1
The ETLR: individualization to titling to land markets ............... ...............20
Restrictions to individualization................ ..................2
Formalization of Tenure--Legal Aspects of Property Rights ..........................25
Inform al Tenure............. ... ........... ...............2
Communal Tenure--Social Aspects of Property Rights ................. ................ .28
Security of Tenure ................. ...............3.. 1......... ...
Cadastral Reform Frameworks ................. ........... ..................32....
Cadastral System Sustainability-Technical .............. ...............32....
Cadastral System Sustainability-Data ................. .............. ......... .....35
Cadastral System Sustainability-Participation.............. .......4
Summary ................. ...............47.................
3 FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO PROGRAM IMPACT AND SYSTEM
SUSTAINABILITY .............. ...............49....
Empirical Data on Land Titling Impacts .............. ..... ...............49..
Existing Studies and Methodologies in Land Titling ..........._._. ........._._.....49
Empirical data from Africa .............. ...............50....
Empirical data from Asia .............. ...............53....
Empirical data from the Caribbean .............. ...............55....
Empirical data from Latin America .............. ...............55....
Empirical data from Transitional Economies............... ...............5
Factors Impacting Land Titling Outcomes ....._._._ ..... ... .__ ........_.......58
Summary ........._._ ...... .... ...............60...
4 METHODOLOGY .............. ...............62....
Background of the Case Study .............. ...............62....
Overview of St. Lucia...................... ..............6
Justification and Aims of the LRTP ........._. ........_. ... .._. ..........6
The LRTP Process ........._._ ...... .... ...............65...
The Baseline Study ........._..... .. .... ._._ ...............68...
Current Functioning of the Land Registry. ....._._._ .......___ ........_.......69
Current Land Market Environment .............. ...............71....
Current Transaction Processes .............. ...............74....
M ethodology ............ ... ........ ._. ...............75..
Comparative Analysis Data Requirements ....._._._ ..... ... .__ ........_.......75
Sampling Methods ........._._ ...... .... ...............76...
Community sample design ...._. ......_._._ .......__. .............7
Field sample design ........._._. ...._. ...............81...
Registry sample design............... ...............83.
Analy si s Method s .............. ............... 8 5...
Data Acquisition Procedure ...._. ......_._._ .......__. ............8
Analysis Procedures .............. ...............89....
Summary ........._._ ...... .... ...............89...
5 ANALYSIS OF IMPACT OF LAND TITLINTG AND LAND REGISTRATION ON
LAND TRANSACTIONS INT ST. LUCIA................ ...............91.
The Impact of the LRTP on the Land Market ................. ............... ......... ...91
Land M market Activity .............. ...............91....
Sales and m mortgages ................. .......... ..... ...............91.
Mitigating influences--locati on, tenure type, parcel size, mutation ............99
Tenure Security .............. .. ............ ...............113......
Tenure type as a measure of security ................. ............................113
Documentation as a measure of security ................. .........................118
Perceptions as a measure of security ................. .............................121
Land use intensity as a measure of security ................. ............ .........121
Summary ................. ...............124................
6 ANALYSIS OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE LAND REGISTRATION
SY STEM INT ST. LUCIA .............. ...............126....
Sustainability of the Land Registry ................. ........... ......... ............2
Conformity Between Registry and Ground ................. ...........................126
Perceptions Affecting Adoption of Technology ................. .......................129
Relative advantage .............. ...............129....
System compatibility ................. ...............132................
System complexity .............. ...............134....
System observability .............. ...............135....
Impact of Sustainability ................. ...............137................
Summary ................. ...............140................
7 COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF TITLING IMPACT AND SYSTEM
SUSTAINABILITY .............. ...............142....
Comparative Analysis............... ...............14
Comparative Indicators .............. .. ...............142...
Percentage of parcels registered ................. ...............143...............
Percentage of transfers that are registered ................. .... .. ...................._145
Annual registered transactions as a percentage of registered parcels ........145
Annual registered transfers as a percentage of registered parcels ..............146
Annual registered mortgages as a percentage of registered parcels........... 147
Time to complete registration of transfer ........._._ ...... ._ ..............147
Number of registries per 1 million population ............__... ........_.......148
Number of registries per 100,000 sq. km area .............. .........._......148
Average working days to pay for average transaction cost........................148
Comparison with Alachua County, Florida............... ...............149
Benchmarking ............ ..... .._ ...............150..
Summary ............ ..... .._ ...............151...
8 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ....._____ .......___ .............153
Conclusions.................... .. .. .. ...............15
The Impact of Land Titling and Land Registration ......___ ..... ... ..............153
Land Transactions ................ ........ ...................15
Overturning the theoretical land registration/land transaction link............153
Overturning the theoretical land titling/tenure security/credit use link......155
Sustainability .............. ...............156....
Gaps in the M odel .............. ...............158....
Further Research ................. ...............161................
Epilogue ................. ...............162................
A LAND REGISTRY MAP SHEETS: FIELD SURVEYED PARCELS ................... 163
Micoud Map Sheets ................. ...............164...............
Babonneau Map Sheets............... ...............168
B QUESTIONNAIRES USED IN THE RESEARCH ................. .......................171
Questi onnaire on the Sustainability of Land Regi station Sy stem s................... ....... 172
Questionnaire on the Growth of Land Markets in St. Lucia ................. .................174
C DISTRIBUTION OF TENURE TYPES IN STUDY AREAS ................. ...............179
Babonneau .............. ...............180....
M icoud ................ ................. 183........ .....
D DISTRIBUTION OF SALES BY TENURE TYPE IN STUDY AREAS ...............187
Babonneau .............. ...............188....
M icoud ................. ...............191................
E ADDITIONAL TABULAR AND GRAPHICAL DATA ................. ................ ..195
REFERENCE LIST .............. ...............199....
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............212....
LIST OF TABLES
1-1 Selection of land titling proj ects and cadastral development proj ects ....................6
3-1 Existing empirical data on impact of land titling/land registration .......................59
3-2 Existing empirical data on sustainability of land registration systems ....................60
4-1 Incidence of family land in 1987 from baseline data ................. ............ .........66
4-2 Typical transaction fees for parcel of land ................. .....___.............. ....7
4-3 Populations of districts containing sampled communities .............. ....................79
4-4 Number of parcels and area of land sampled in the Land Registry ................... ......84
4-5 Indicators chosen for comparison with baseline data............... ..................8
4-6 Factors impacting the indicators .............. ...............86....
5-1 Sale activity by community (1987-2004) ....._____ .... ......... .........__........9
5-2 Relationship of tenure type (3 categories) to sale activity in Babonneau ..............101
5-3 Relationship of tenure type (3 categories) to sale activity in Micoud ................... .102
5-4 Relationship of tenure type (3 categories) to sale activity in Choiseul .................. 102
5-5 Relationship of tenure type (3 categories) to sale activity in Tete Chemin ...........102
5-6 Relationship of tenure type (2 categories) to sale activity in Babonneau ..............103
5-7 Relationship of tenure type (2 categories) to sale activity in Micoud ................... .103
5-8 Relationship of tenure type (2 categories) to sale activity in Choiseul .................. 104
5-9 Relationship of tenure type (2 categories) to sale activity in Tete Chemin ...........104
5-10 Results of logistic regression explaining the incidence of at least one sale...........105
5-11 Hosmer and Lemeshow Test of goodness-of-fit ........._ ....... .............106
5-12 Predictive ability of the model .............. ...............106....
5-13 Relationship between parcel size and sale activity .............. .....................0
5-14 Credit use on parcel by location ......___ .... ...._..._ ...............108..
5-15 Results of logistic regression on the incidence of mortgages ..........._.._. .............11 1
5-16 Hosmer and Lemeshow Test of goodness-of-fit of model ........._._. ..................11 1
5-17 Predictive ability of the model ........... ....._.._ ...............111
5-18 Credit use by parcel--comparison 1987 to 2004.........._.._.. ......_.._.............111
5-19 Incidence of credit use on parcel by location--comparison 1987 to 2004 ............1 12
5-20 Relationship between credit use and tenure type ................. .......__. ........._.112
5-21 Increase in numb er of parcels through formal mutati ons by l ocati on ................... .11 3
5-22 Mean parcel sizes by location of parcel from 2004 data ................. ................ ..1 13
5-23 Incidence of family land parcels in Babonneau and Micoud--1987 and 2004 .....1 14
5-24 Current incidence of family land in Babonneau and Micoud (registry sample)....1 16
5-25 Current incidence of family land in all 4 communities ( registry sample)............. 116
5-26 Relationship between tenure type and area of parcel ................ .....................1 17
5-27 Documentation of ownership in baseline data--1987 ................. ............... .....1 19
5-28 Documentation of ownership in field sample--2004............._._ ........._._ ......120
5-29 Conversions from provisional to absolute title since the LRTP (registry sample) 120
5-3 0 Perceptions of the likelihood of counterclaims ................ .......... ...............121
5-31 Levels of cultivation in Babonneau and Micoud .............. .....................123
5-32 Comparison of levels of cultivation between 1987 and 2004 .............. .................123
6-1 Conformity between tenure in the registry and tenure in the field.........................127
6-2 Incidence of registered title in field sampled parcels ................. ......................127
6-3 Perception of advantages of registration ................. ...............130..............
6-4 Perceived disadvantages to registration of title to land ................. ................ ...130
6-5 Perceived cost of registration in EC$ ................. ...............131........... ..
6-6 Actual land transfer and registration costs (US$) .............. .....................3
6-7 Reasons for personal perceptions about security of claim to land ................... ......133
6-8 Logistic regression results explaining incidence of title in the field ................... ...133
6-9 Predictive ability of the model ................ ....................... ................134
6-10 Hosmer and Lemeshow Test of goodness-of-fit of the model .............. ..... ........._.134
6-11 Perceived time to transfer and register title ................. ............... ......... ...13
6-12 Actual time of transaction in the Land Registry .............. ...............135....
6-13 Whether respondent visited the Land Registry. ............. ...............135....
6-14 How parcel owner obtained land compared between 1987 and 2004 ................... .137
6-15 Transactions by parcel holder on parcel occupied in Babonneau and Micoud......139
6-16 Transactions by parcel holder on other parcels in Babonneau and Micoud...........139
6-17 Perceptions on whether the Land Registry contains accurate data ........................139
7-1 Definitions of indicators ................. ...............143...............
E-1 Conversions from provisional to absolute title related to sales..............................195
E-2 Conversions from provisional to absolute title related to mortgages ................... ..196
LIST OF FIGURES
1-1 Impact of land titling and land registration .............. ...............4.....
1-2 Placing land registration, land titling, cadastral programs within a comprehensive
theoretical framework .............. ...............10....
2-1 The Evolutionary Theory of Land Rights (Platteau 1996) ................. ................. .21
2-2 Three dimensions of security of tenure ................ ...............32........... ..
2-3 The central role of land information (Dale and McLaughlin 1999) ................... ......37
2-4 Cadastral data within the Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI) (Groot and
McLaughlin 2000) ................. ...............38.................
2-5 Abstraction from the tenure to the cadastre adapted from Bittner and Frank .........40
4-1 Distribution of tenure types in field sample of 1987 Baseline Study ................... ....67
4-2 Declining banana production (1986-2003) .............. ...............72....
4-3 Declining revenue from bananas (1986-2003)............... ..............7
4-4 Increase in tourist visitors over recent years (1997-2001) ................ ................. .73
4-5 Index of registry sheets showing communities selected for survey .................. .......78
4-6 Location of map sheets from which field interview parcels were sampled .............80
4-7 Distribution of field surveyed parcels on one sheet in Micoud............... ................82
4-8 Distribution of field surveyed parcels on one sheet in Babonneau ................... .......83
5-1 Total number of land sales and mortgages registered per year for selected years--
A ll St. Lucia .............. ...............93....
5-2 Mean number of land sales and mortgages per parcel registered for selected years--
A ll St. Lucia .............. ...............93....
5-3 Average lending rates for CIBC since the LRTP ........................... ...............95
5-4 Total real GDP compared with selected sectors 1990-2002 in EC$ ................... .....95
5-5 Total number of sales registered per year for selected years in the 4 survey
com munities .............. ...............96....
5-6 Mean sales per parcel for the 4 survey communities compared with total ..............97
5-7 Total value of sales per year for 4 survey communities in EC$............... ................97
5-8 Value of sales per year adjusted to constant 1990 prices in EC$ ................... ..........98
5-9 Mean number of sales per parcel over 16 years in sampled communities ...............99
5-10 Distribution of tenure categories by percentage of area in each community......... 100
5-11 Spatial distribution of sales by tenure type on sheet 1247B, Babonneau ..............105
5-12 Relationship between parcel size and sale activity .............. .....................0
5-13 Total number of mortgages per year in all four communities ............... .... ...........109
5-14 Total number of mortgages per year for each of the four communities ................. 109
5-15 Total value of mortgages in EC$ for all four communities ................. ................1 10
5-16 Total value of mortgages per year in EC$ for each of the four communities ........1 10
5-17 Comparison of tenure types in sampled sheets-1i987-2004 ................ ...............1 14
5-18 Comparison of incidence of tenure types in Hield samples-1i987 to 2004 ...........1 15
5-19 Spatial distribution of tenure types on sheet 1247B, Babonneau ................... ........1 17
5-20 Spatial distribution of tenure type on Sheet 1228B, Micoud ................. ...............1 18
5-21 Distribution of parcel sizes in registry sample ................ ......... ................1 19
5-22 Perception of likelihood of counterclaim to ownership of parcel ................... .......122
5-23 Comparison of percentage of parcels in Hield sample under different levels of
intensity of cultivation (Babonneau--1987 and 2004) .............. .................... 123
5-24 Comparison of percentage of parcels in Hield sample under different levels of
intensity of cultivation (Micoud--1987 and 2004) ....._____ ...... ....__...........124
6-1 Incidence of registered title in Hield sampled parcels ................. ......................128
6-2 Landholder perceptions of cost of transaction in EC$ ................ ............... ..... 13 1
6-3 Frequency of visiting registry by type of transaction ................. ............. .......136
6-4 How parcel owner obtained land--comparison 1987 to 2004 ............... .... ...........138
7-1 Comparison of sales between Alachua County and St. Lucia................ ...............149
7-2 Comparison of sales as a percentage of the total number of parcels ................... ... 150
8-1 Gaps in the model linking titling and registration to posited outcomes .................1 59
A-1 Distribution of field surveyed parcels on Micoud Sheet 1228B ............................ 164
A-2 Distribution of field surveyed parcels on Micoud Sheet 1427B ............................ 165
A-3 Distribution of field surveyed parcels on Micoud Sheet 1428B ............................ 166
A-4 Distribution of field surveyed parcels on Micoud Sheet 1430B ............................ 167
A-5 Distribution of field surveyed parcels on Babonneau Sheet 1247B ................... ....168
A-6 Distribution of field surveyed parcels on Babonneau Sheet 1446B ................... ....169
A-7 Distribution of field surveyed parcels on Babonneau Sheet 1448B....................... 170
C-1 Distribution of tenure types on Babonneau Sheet 1247B ................. ..................180
C-2 Distribution of tenure types on Babonneau Sheet 1446B ................. ..................181
C-3 Distribution of tenure types on Babonneau Sheet 1448B ................. ..................182
C-4 Distribution of tenure types on Micoud Sheet 1228B ................. ................. .. 183
C-5 Distribution of tenure types on Micoud Sheet 1427B ................. ................. .. 184
C-6 Distribution of tenure types on Micoud Sheet 1428B ................. ................. .. 185
C-7 Distribution of tenure types on Micoud Sheet 1430B ................. ................. .. 186
D-1 Distribution of sales by tenure type on Babonneau Sheet 1247B ..........................188
D-2 Distribution of sales by tenure type on Babonneau Sheet 1446B ..........................189
D-3 Distribution of sales by tenure type on Babonneau Sheet 1448B ..........................190
D-4 Distribution of sales by tenure type on Micoud Sheet 1228B............... ................191
D-5 Distribution of sales by tenure type on Micoud Sheet 1427B ............... .... ........._..192
D-6 Distribution of sales by tenure type on Micoud Sheet 1428B............... ................193
D-7 Distribution of sales by tenure type on Micoud Sheet 1430B............... ................194
E-1 Incidence of sales by tenure type .............. ...............196....
E-2 Discrepancy in tenure between field and registry .............. ....................19
E-3 Incidence of sale on parcel by location ................. ...............197.............
E-4 Incidence of mortgage on parcel by location ................ ................. ......... .198
E-5 Incidence of mortgage on parcel by tenure ........._._. ......_. ........_........19
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE IMPACT OF LAND TITLING ON LAND TRANSACTION ACTIVITY AND
REGISTRATION SYSTEM SUSTAINABILITY: A CASE STUDY OF ST. LUCIA
Chair: Grenville Barnes
Major Department: Civil and Coastal Engineering
Various theories link land titling, the existence of the cadastre, and formalization of
tenure, to tenure security and information availability and thence to formal land
transaction activity. To test this link, this research questioned whether land titling
proj ects lead to the establishment or the invigoration of the formal land market in the
medium term (10-20 years). This research also explored the factors that affect
sustainability of the formal land registration system over the medium term since currency
of the system is required to support formal land market activity. Data acquired from St.
Lucia, which was the subj ect of a land-titling proj ect sufficiently long ago for assessment
of impact and sustainability, informed the research.
Previous empirical research on the impact of land titling and land registration on
land transactions over the medium term, particularly in the Caribbean, is limited. This
research focused on formal land transactions over the medium term after a systematic and
compulsory land titling and land registration program in St. Lucia.
This research Einds that land titling programs have limited impact over the medium
term on formal land transaction activity. In this research, family land tenure was found to
significantly affect the volume of land market transactions. Despite the posited benefits,
no significant movement from family land tenure toward individualization was found.
Failure to register inheritances and leases was found to be the primary manifestation of
the lack of sustainability of civil participation in the land title registration system.
These Eindings can be used to determine what are the outcomes to be anticipated
from embarking on programs to perform comprehensive establishment or re-engineering
of cadastral and registration systems, particularly in the presence of community tenure
forms in developing countries. This empirical research adds to the body of information
that tests the validity of the theories under different conditions and contributes to the
design of more effective and comprehensive land administration programs.
Property and tenure theories posit that security of land tenure is required for
reducing risks in land transactions (Demsetz 1967; Palmer 1996). Reducing these risks
facilitates the formal transaction process for sale or mortgage, leading to an increase in
the volume of these transactions. Security of tenure also increases the confidence the
landholder has of a) being able to claim the return on any investments made on the land,
b) being able to convert the land into cash, and c) being able to use the land as collateral
for accessing credit (Alchian and Demsetz 1973; Demsetz 1967; Feder and Nishio 1999).
Thus, increasing security of tenure should encourage increased investment, improved
productivity and enhanced ability to access credit. According to this body of theory, land
titling, privatization of land, land registration and establishment of cadastres all
contribute to an increase in tenure security on the part of land occupants. Proj ects to
perform these processes have therefore been promoted as being able to achieve the
security of tenure required for invigoration of land markets (Feder and Nishio 1999;
Deininger et al. 2003; World Bank 2000; World Bank 1997; Agency for International
Development 1974; Agency for International Development 1985). Systems to acquire
and store data on the tenure status of land must remain current and accurate to maintain
the security of tenure and to facilitate land transactions (Dale and McLaughlin 1988,
1999; Groot and McLaughlin 2000).
Definitions in Land Titling and Land Registration
For the purposes of this research, land titling is the initial process of formally
recognizing rights to land. Land registration is the process of initially recording legally
valid rights to land. Title registration carries the additional guarantee of not only those
rights, but also the guarantee of the transactions regarding those rights being legally valid
by virtue of the recordation process. In practice, though, depending on the efficiency and
security of the land registration system, there may be little difference between the
confidence held in the documents recorded in title registration systems and that held in
the documents recorded in other land registration systems, such as deeds registration
systems. Titling often (but not necessarily) occurs concurrently with the initial
registration in the land registration system. Subsequent transactions in land must be
recorded in the registration system at the time of transaction to be legally valid or to have
legal priority over unregistered transactions. Individualization is the evolution toward
increasing control by the individual landholder over land use decisions.
The cadastral system is that combination of tenure records and the related
description of the smallest individually definable land units over which rights can be held
in a jurisdiction. Cadastral reform denotes the process of making the cadastral system
better able to acquire, store, manage or disseminate the relevant information. Security of
tenure is the confidence landholders have that their rights over land will be upheld by the
society, by local communities or by the state. The projects that this research discusses
are therefore those that are introduced as part of a planned and implemented program
with technical, social, and economic development goals in mind.
Spatial data infrastructure comprises the networked systems, standards, institutions,
personnel and databases that allow the integration of spatial data and thus provides for the
access and use of that data (Groot and McLaughlin 2000). Groot and McLaughlin (2000)
define spatial data or geospatial data as spatially referenced data.
Justification for the Research
The land market activity resulting from the implementation of land titling/land
registration proj ects should lead to economic and social development both by promoting
access to credit to be used in development and by facilitating the reallocation of land to
those who are more productive (Feder and Nishio 1999). Yet the nexus between land
titling projects and equity in land access, credit access, poverty alleviation and
productivity has been questioned, since other market and cultural factors affect whether
and how titled land can be used to foster economic growth. Equity concerns arise
because economic growth flowing out of land market activity may not accrue evenly to
all members of society (Platteau 1996; Dujon 1997; Place and Migot-Adholla 1998).
Cadastral information system frameworks focus on the availability of current land
information to facilitate land markets, to manage the use and distribution of land
resources and to improve the spatial data infrastructure in a jurisdiction (Dale and
McLaughlin 1988, 1999; Palmer 1996). Land titling, land registration and cadastral
programs acquire, formalize and record tenure information and establish mechanisms for
maintaining the information in a current state.
Land titling proj ects, therefore, are not always applicable for promoting sustainable
development in developing countries since the positive effect on security of tenure is not
always attained (Roth and Haase 1998) and the efficacy of the project for sustainable land
management is doubtful in some circumstances where the culture is accustomed to
alternative property systems (Platteau 1996; Kombe and Kreibich 2000; Agarwal 2001;
Jansen and Roquas 1998). The technology introduced for storing and maintaining the
data may also not be consistent with the level of technology with which the society is
The theorized impact of land titling and land registration is shown in Figure 1-1.
Land titling increases security of tenure and this increased security leads to assurance,
realizability and collateralization effects, which are respectively described by Brasselle et
al. (2002) to be the assurance that the landowner will obtain long term benefits from the
land, the ability to realize immediate fungibility from the land and the ability to use the
land as collateral for credit. These effects create incentives for the landowner to invest in
the land and thus result in optimization of productivity and developmental activity. In the
second impact track, land registration leads to the establishment of information systems
that can be used to support transactions in land or land management activities. The
theoretical result is again optimized productivity and development. Both of these impact
tracks must take place within an environment of system maintenance to continue to
Land I Security Realizability effect Investment Productivity,
titling 'f tenure Coltrlzto feton land development
Symmetry of information
on land development
Integration of spatial data
Land and productivity,
resource use development
Figure 1-1. Impact of land titling and land registration
Significant investments are being made across the developing world in the
establishment of cadastral and registration systems, as part of land administration
programs, by governments hoping to achieve economic and social benefits. As an
illustration of the scale of these proj ects, a search on land titling proj ects on the World
Bank Group website (World Bank Group 2003) returns a list of land titling proj ect costs
ranging from $US 5 million for a land titling and related services proj ect in Sri Lanka to
$US 195 million for a rural land titling and cadastre development proj ect in the Ukraine.
A USAID/OAS website (USAID/OAS 2003) also lists proj ects in land titling and
cadastral development. Some of these projects are listed in Table 1-1.
Internationally funded land administration programs are in various stages of
planning and implementation in many countries with varied economic and social
challenges such as Croatia, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Bolivia, Panama, Phillipines,
Honduras, and Bulgaria amongst others (World Bank Group 2003; Inter American
Development Bank [IDB] 2003; U. S. Agency for Intemnational
Development/Organization of American States [USAID/OAS] 2003). A search on the
World Bank website (World Bank Group 2003), for titling, registration and cadastral
projects returns 66 projects. A search on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
website (IDB 2003) returns some 56 documents on land administration programs.
As an indication of the land administration activity in the Caribbean and South
American region, a USAID/OAS website (USAID/OAS 2003) lists 20 programs in 9
Caribbean countries, 61 programs in 8 Central American countries and 42 programs in 7
South American countries that deal broadly with land administration. An example of
some of these proj ects in South America and the Caribbean is also shown in Table 1-1.
Table 1-1. Selection of land titling prqj ects and cadastral development prqj ects
Prqj ect Name $USM Country/Area
Community-Based Rural Land 27 Malawi
Development Proj ect
Land Administration Project 20.51 Ghana
Rural Land Titling And Cadastre 195.13 Ukraine
Development Proj ect
Second Land Titling Proj ect 14.82 Lao People's
Land Titling and Related Services 5 Sri Lanka
Land Titling Proj ect 20.73 Lao People's
Latin America and the Caribbean
Cadastre and Registry Modernization Argentina
Infrastructure for registry and property 106 Bolivia
Land regularization and titling
land admin. and policy reforms, accurate
land ownership information, land studies
and improve land transaction registration
demarcation of indigenous people's lands
feasibility study for land administration Bahamas
Low income housing, land tenure, land reg., Barbados
land use planning
Modernize real property registration system 140 Dominican
land titling/registry Republic
property rights, land tenure
Strengthening System for Property Rights 1.5 Guyana
Source: World Bank Group website 2003-
http://web .worl db ank. org/external/proj ects/main? query=1 and%20titling&menuPK=22407
6&pagePK=21861 6&piPK=21 7470&theSitePK=4094 1
S ource: U SAID/OAS web site- http://www. property-regi strati on.org/Proj ect-li st.htm
Much of Latin America has had land administration programs or such programs are
proposed for implementation (Barnes 2003). The Caribbean also has proj ects in various
stages of implementation in Jamaica, Belize, and Trinidad and Tobago amongst others
(USAID/OAS 2003). Most of the land administration programs have a land titling, land
registration, or cadastral reform component although it would be difficult to identify
exactly what proportion of the expenditure is allotted to each particular component.
Documented empirical evidence is needed to test whether investments in the
improvement of land administration systems are socially and economically viable.
Country governments must be aware that the cost incurred by the implementation of the
proj ect must include the succeeding recurrent expenditure required for maintaining the
systems. Empirical research tests the theories that relate the implementation of these
proj ects to the development of land markets and therefore allows for more effective
proj ect design that incorporates supportive activities within a holistic program to effect
Empirical research on the benefits achieved by land administration programs
provides a better understanding of the actual benefits of the programs and also provides
information for improving future programs. Platteau (1996) contends that anticipated
benefits have been overestimated and are not justified by the cost of the programs.
Brasselle et al. (2002) present evidence for questioning the link between security of
tenure and agricultural investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
Freyfogle (2002) and Agarwal (2001) question, not the programs themselves, but
the structure of the individualized land tenure regime that is normally instituted and its
efficacy for land use sustainability. More specifically, Barnes (1990b; 2003), van der
Molen (2002) and the World Bank (2001) call for more research on the sustainability of
land information systems to ensure that longer-term benefits derive from these programs.
Maintenance of civil participation is a key area of the overall sustainability of the land
registration system. While there has been research in different jurisdictions concerning
the link between land registration and access to credit, land values, investments in land
and output and income from land, there have been relatively fewer studies dealing with
the link between titling and land registration proj ects and land transactions. Feder and
Nishio (1999) identify further research needs in this area, including more empirical
research on the actual impact of registration systems on transactions in the land market
.. the reduction of uncertainty regarding ownership is expected to enhance the
level of activity in the land market, affording increase in the overall efficiency of
land allocation. However, there has been a paucity of empirical research on the
veracity of this proposition, and on the actual extent of land transactions under
different levels of formality of the property rights system. (Feder and Nishio 1999,
Feder and Nishio (1999) also speak of the importance of analyzing the justification
for such systems in the local or regional context of various countries, particularly where
tenure systems with distinct characteristics exist. This research is therefore particularly
useful in the Caribbean where the "family land" type of communal tenure coexists with
the more conventional private, individual tenure. Data on medium term impacts of
completed programs would close this gap in the knowledge of the impact of the programs
on land transactions and of the sustainability of the installed information systems. For
the purpose of this research, medium term is defined to be 10 to 20 years after the
completion of the land titling or land registration proj ect.
There is therefore a dearth of evidence to support the assertion that land titling and
land registration projects lead directly to increases in land transactions over the medium
term, particularly within the economic, social, and tenurial context of the Caribbean
region. There is also a paucity of medium term data on the sustainability of the land
registration information systems established by land titling projects. There are, in
addition, conflicting reports from various studies in different regions on the impacts of
land titling and land registration proj ects. This empirical research is therefore required to
assist in filling these gaps.
This research investigates the following research questions:
* Do land titling/land registration proj ects lead to the establishment or the
invigoration of the formal land market, as measured by the registration of sales and
* Are formal land registration systems sustainable over the medium term?
The approach was firstly to locate this research within the context of the various
disciplinary and theoretical themes that frame it. Figure 1-2 indicates that the boundaries
of the maj or development theories determine the structure of the development processes
that are proposed and implemented. Land-based development solutions form a large part
of the development framework, supported by tenure and property theories that link tenure
on land to development.
Many of these land-based development solutions require the support of the
cadastre, including the land registration system, the form and function of which is
founded on cadastral information system concepts and affected by diffusion theories. It
was therefore necessary to take a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the impact of
land titling, land registration and cadastral programs on land transactions and on the
sustainability of the land registration system, as the impact may be affected by economic,
social or technological factors.
Figure 1-2. Placing land registration, land titling, cadastral programs within a
comprehensive theoretical framework
Secondly, this research investigates the impact of land titling on land markets in the
literature in previous empirical research. This investigation identified a list of factors that
affect the ability of land titling/land registration programs to effect changes in volume of
land transactions and a second list of factors that affect the sustainability of land
registration systems. From the theory and the literature, an approach was suggested to
investigate the case study.
Thirdly, the empirical part of the research was based on the case study of St. Lucia.
Data were collected, both from the Land Registry records and from administering
questionnaires to land occupants, to address the research questions. Additional
information on the economic, social and technological environment in St. Lucia was
derived from interviews with land-based professionals such as lawyers, land surveyors,
and valuation surveyors. The first research question was addressed by observing the
extent to which landholders formally registered their land transactions in the formal land
market after the titling proj ect. The second research question was addressed by observing
the congruence between the formal data acquired in the Land Registry with the data
acquired in the field.
It is acknowledged that there are a myriad of confounding exogenous economic and
social factors that complicate the relationship between land titling and formal land
markets (Binswanger and Deininger 1993; Deininger et al. 2003). The quantification of
the relative impact of all the possible contributing factors is beyond the scope of this
research, which is focused on empirically testing the impact of land titling and land
registration programs on land transactions and on land registration system sustainability.
The scope of the practical aspect of this research was therefore limited to investigating
and testing empirically the correlation between land titling/land registration and land
markets, and between land titling/land registration and the sustainability of the land title
registration system in the case study area. Comparing land transactions across different
tenure types within St. Lucia also helped to control for maj or economic and social
conditions that affect the country as a whole.
The sustainability of the information system introduced via the land-titling proj ect
was examined. Societal perceptions regarding the system were also documented to
determine whether they affected the sustainability of the system. Data on volume and
type of land transactions since completion of the property formalization program were
collected to illustrate the impact of the program on the formal land market and the
progress of the impact over time. The data on volume and type of land transactions,
collated into sales, gifts and bequests illustrated the activity in the formal market. The
data on volume and type of informal land transactions illustrated the activity in the
informal land market.
Organization of Dissertation
Chapter 1 introduced the research problem, and presented the research questions
and structure of the research. Chapter 2 investigates the structure of land administration
programs and how tenure and property theories fit within these programs. The chapter
also develops cadastral and land registration system frameworks and diffusion theory to
describe how culture has been determined to impact on geographic and land information
system adoption in general.
Chapter 3 reviews existing empirical research in the literature to develop a list of
factors drawn from this research that impact on the ability of land titling and land
registration programs to lead to increased land transactions and to sustainable land
Chapter 4 describes the case study characteristics relevant to the research and
identifies the data acquisition methodology used in the case study country and in the
analysis of the data.
Chapter 5 analyzes the data captured in the case study related to formal land
transactions, compares the Eindings to the baseline study findings and describes the
relevance of the outcomes of the analyses.
Chapter 6 analyzes the data captured in the case study related to sustainability of
the land registration system, compares the Eindings to the baseline study findings and
describes the relevance of the outcomes of the analyses.
Chapter 7 discusses the generalizability of the findings by comparing the indicators
derived in Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 to indicators from other international jurisdictions
gleaned from published work. Chapter 8 summarizes and concludes the research and
recommends approaches to instituting land titling and land registration proj ects and
further investigation on factors that impact sales and mortgages, and the adoption of land
title and land registration system technology.
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF LAND TITLING PROGRAMS AND LAND
The following sections describe the theories that have impacted on and have shaped
the form and structure of land administration programs. Cadastral reform draws on
theories in land tenure, property systems, and information systems to develop
frameworks for the optimal form and function of the cadastral system (Dale 1976; Dale
and McLaughlin 1999; Larsson 1991; Williamson and Ting 2001). While development
theories are presented here to briefly describe the general economic foundations that
motivate the overall development process, land tenure and property theories are detailed
to more closely describe the concepts that position land and cadastral systems within, and
as important components of, development processes. Cadastral reform and technology
diffusion concepts are detailed here to even more precisely describe the way the cadastral
and land administration systems, as information systems, are structured and how they
relate to societies as they attempt, as comprehensively as possible, to describe and record
the complex human-land relationship.
Many development theories have evolved over the last 6 decades and their
implementation has been pursued globally. Modernization theory, which is one of the
more fundamental theories in development, became established after World War II.
Modernization, summarized, states that nations are poor because they lack capital,
technology and modern social values. Despite being criticized in later years for failing to
extricate poor nations from the grasp of poverty, these modernization theories retain their
proponents and the concepts are still used as the basis for many current development
programs (Roberts and Hite 2000). Development programs structured around land, based
on this modernization theme, introduce the technology and capacities required to install
or elevate land administration institutions into modern entities and attempt to establish a
land market, whereby capital can be generated from land, to fund growth and
Globalization, as an emerging major development theory, states that power derives
from a hold on information, technology and world banking institutions (Roberts and Hite
2000). Land administration development programs of this type aim to improve the
accessibility and transparency of land markets so that land can be traded as a commodity
on international markets and used as securitization for international investors seeking
Development theories continue to evolve as the very definition of development is
questioned by postmodernists who champion the validity of alternative perspectives to
development (Roberts and Hite 2000). Such debates are fueled by some of the harmful
social, economic and environmental consequences of conventional ideas of development.
Imperatives for preserving economic and social equity and environmental sustainability
now underlie proposals for development. However, solutions proposed in these debates
still focus on the more judicious management and use of land.
Development theories are linked to the concept of ownership of landed property by
the fact that land is one of the primary ingredients of the development theories. Land can
provide the capital required for modernization efforts to occur. Access to land can
correct the inequities decried by Marxism and dependency theorists. Global corporations
require land to make use of the resources in targeted nations. Land is still a maj or factor
of production. So that whichever theory is espoused, land remains central to its
implementation. Many development programs are therefore focused around the
redistribution, restitution, privatization, individualization, titling, registration or
recordation of land.
Supporting programs deal with the introduction of legislation and legislation
changes required to facilitate these processes and the institutional structuring and
restructuring required to implement and manage these processes and the data that
emanate from their implementation. The World Bank policy on development via land
reform has evolved to where acknowledgement is made of the value of supporting the
creation of more owner-occupied family farms, securing property rights for increasing
investment in land and increasing the volume of transactions in the land market,
improving policy and legislation to support land migration to more productive users and
uses, supporting land rental markets together with land sale markets and encouraging
equity in land distribution (Deininger and Binswanger 1999). Whereas in 1975, the
World Bank land reform policy was specific in its recommendation to convert communal
tenure systems to individualized tenure systems, the policy has shifted to recommending
that governments facilitate communal systems, where they exist, in their management
while still guiding the evolution to individualization (Deininger and Binswanger 1999).
However, some researchers still deplore the economic land market emphasis as put
forward by international development agencies (Dujon 1997).
Land related development is therefore a key focus of national development funded
by international agencies and adopted by governments.
Property and Tenure Theories
Individualization of Tenure--Economic Aspects of Property Rights
History of individualization
Property theories also support the importance of land and security of land tenure to
growth and development of the individual and ultimately the society. While societies
have historically used various tenure mechanisms to manage coexistence on land, the
economic view of landed property has significantly shaped the western world's attitude to
land ownership. By so doing, this economic view has affected the implementation of
development proj ects related to land as proposed by western development funding
institutions. The economic view is that land is simply a factor of production and
therefore conforms to factor market characteristics.
Few have been as instrumental in initially defining this economic view as John
Locke whose analyses of property are viewed as being foundational to market theories
(McMurtry 1997). Statements by philosophers such as John Locke (1690) and, later,
Jacques Rousseau (1754) supporting individualization of property within ethical limits
preceded theories on the natural inevitability of individualization and those on the
economic advisability of individualization as opposed to common property and later, the
imperative to encourage individualization as a catalyst for development.
John Locke philosophized that "as much land as a man tills, plants, improves,
cultivates, and can use the product of, so much is his property" (Locke 1690, Section 32).
He modified this radical statement by declaring that an individual's ability to amass
property by dint of his labor should be tempered by the "rule of propriety", which
requires that each person only take what was required for sustenance, leaving the rest for
the other members of the society to extract their own sustenance. Labor, he claimed was
the only way to give land any economic value. Even though Locke is thought of as
supporting individualization of landed property, which is part of neoclassical economic
theory, the difference is that the neoclassicist is not constrained by morality but must
obey the laws of economic self interest in order to support the economic system whereas
Locke held the overriding morality of the "rule of propriety" as being paramount in
preventing inequity in the world (Henry 1999). Theorists such as Hardin (1968) deride
the ability of ethics to provide a workable solution to problems of finite resource use
since, in an open access system, ethical behavior would doom the highly moral individual
to a disadvantaged position and then to exploitation and ultimately to elimination from
the user community. This view is evidence of the need for some rule-based structure to
land and resource management. Since it was not the intention of his argument, Hardin
did not discuss the fact that many communal groups had social rules and sanctions that
provided the rule based structures that would allow the communal resource use system to
function. Judge (2002) posits that the self-regulating ethical rule structure of Locke's
perspective on property is analogous to the community sanctions provided by a functional
communal land use system.
The history of the thinking on individualization is still fundamental to the way ideal
property structures are conceived by economists and recommended in development
(Deininger and Binswanger 1999).
Description of individualization
Individualization is conceived of as being gradual when it occurs naturally in
response to market forces of increasing population, external market demands or other
increases in demand for scarce land or land-based resources. Theoretically, land tenure
systems, given these typical scenarios, must move inexorably towards individualized land
holding since this type of system most effectively maximizes economic benefits from the
land resource (Demsetz 1967; Binswanger and Deininger 1993). In the agricultural
economics context, Binswanger and Deininger (1993, pl250) state that "under simple
technology there are no scale economies in farming and independent family farms are
economically the most efficient mode of production, except for a very limited set of
The individualization process begins to occur in many countries or jurisdictions
when the population increases and land space decreases, resulting in an increase in value
of land and land resources. Where land was once open access, smaller more
homogeneous communal ownership groups such as families or tribes develop (Larsson
1991). Demsetz (1967) described this process in economic terms as internalizing of
extemalities. While the value of the land is low in situations where land is freely
available and the population is small, the cost of acquiring and policing ownership on an
individual parcel of land to the casual user of the parcel is an externality. The definition
of extemality is not precisely defined in economic terms but Demsetz (1967) specifies the
term to mean costs that do not impact on economic decision-making because such costs
are too high to be feasible to consider. When the value of the land, or the gains to be
achieved from internalization, increases to exceed the cost to the ownership group of
having the open ownership system and the cost of intemalization, then these costs of
acquiring and policing are internalized and are therefore reflected in the increased cost of
acquiring exclusive use of a parcel of land. The economically ideal situation is where all
externalities, whether positive or negative, become part of the negotiations into the
transfer of land between individually rational parties (Demsetz 1967).
The ETLR: individualization to titling to land markets
The individualization process may take years, decades or even centuries depending
on the relative impact of the external factors that cause the value of the land to increase.
These factors may include the rate of growth of the population depending on the land or
land resource for survival, the area of suitable land, the availability of land resources, and
the rate of growth of the external markets for the land resource.
The economic view of individualization and its link to land markets and attendant
benefits first began to be empirically tested in the 1980's in the context of a World Bank
funded proj ect in Thailand. Gershon Feder, a researcher in the World Bank, was
instrumental in this advancement of the theory, developing conceptual models of the
process and testing the models with data from Thailand (Feder and Onchan 1987; Feder
et al. 1988). The land titling project in Thailand, begun in 1984, was the largest project
of this kind in the world and was therefore a natural case study for the theory.
Evidence of the individualization process, called the evolutionary theory of land
rights (ETLR) by Platteau (1996) and gleaned by him from previous descriptions of the
theory by economists such as Feder et al. (1988), Demsetz (1967) and Feeny (1988), was
also researched in the African context. Platteau graphically illustrated the concept as
shown in Figure 2-1. This model follows the individualization process from increasing
population and land scarcity through the conflicts that result from the competition for
agricultural land. Two alternate views exist on the direction the land tenure takes from
this point. One view is that the land tenure does not automatically evolve towards
individualization but that individualization must be forcibly introduced to the
about land rights;
(costly) strategic moves
to claim new lands or
to protect customary
for (more specific
and more secure)
property rights in
Increased flexibility to
convert land into other
Lower transaction costs in
land transfers due to
reduced ambiguity in
* Reallocation of land from
less to more dynamic agents
* Consolidation of holdings
Figure 2-1. The Evolutionary Theory of Land Rights (Platteau 1996)
tenure system. The second view, shown in Figure 2-1, is that the society in conflict
naturally, at some point, exerts pressure on the state to individualize land through titling
mechanisms. This necessity for the state to intervene is the ETLR view. Three different
economic and social benefit streams are then identified.
Firstly, the increase in tenure security, introduced by the land titling process,
would lead: a) to a greater volume of transactions in land at lower costs due to the
available information, b) to more economically advantageous agricultural decision
making and c) to increased investment in agriculture since there would be less necessity
for investment in protection of property rights.
Secondly, the decrease in land conflicts would lead to a more stable and peaceful
society. Thirdly, the state benefits from the taxation that is possible with the available
information and from the reduction in court litigation costs.
Platteau (1996) acknowledges the negative impacts to this scenario as a result of
inequity in land distribution arising from land being lost through foreclosure on
mortgages and acquired by entrepreneurs as investment opportunities. He disregards the
impact of this side effect as merely a natural accompaniment to specialization and
growth from which everybody will benefit" (Platteau 1996, 37).
The ETLR theory was supported by empirical research from Kenya that indicated
a shift from sales that were redeemable to the original seller to increasingly irredeemable
sales (Barrows and Roth 1989). The number of sales occurring was also positively
related to the population density in Rwanda and Ghana (Migot-Adholla et al. 1991).
Sales occurring only within communal groups gradually evolved to sales occurring to
persons outside the group first only with group approval and then requiring no approval
(Bruce 1986). Although Platteau (1996) agreed with the ETLR view that what was
occurring in sub-Saharan Africa was a natural evolution towards increased
individualization and heightened transferability in land he disagreed with the inevitability
of the society-induced demand for titling in all situations.
Restrictions to individualization
Empirical evidence, in the situation of sub-Saharan Africa, suggested to Platteau
that the ETLR process did not naturally occur without technological change and
economic alternatives to land holding accompanying the other market drivers. He
therefore concluded that land tenure arrangements did evolve under increasing land
scarcity but that state imposed land titling was not necessarily the result. Other informal
and communal land tenure arrangements (as opposed to formal, individualized land
titling, and registration instituted by the state) could evolve to respond in a more socially
positive way to land scarcity. While he noted that empirical evidence was scarce, as only
Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Kenya had performed large-scale land registration and formal
individualization programs, he cited evidence from these countries, and from other areas,
where informal individualization had occurred to support his stance. He suggested that
formal, individualized land titling might only be appropriate in situations where other
socially cohesive institutions, such as communal tenure, did not exist. This view
therefore acknowledges the importance of culture to the determination of whether land
titling is an appropriate intervention. He also suggested that formal, individualized land
titling should only be performed at the appropriate time in the ETLR sequence. There
must be pressure from the society due to land scarcity and rising population before land
titling is warranted. Empirical evidence from case studies that Platteau cited in Africa
found that, contrary to the ETLR, land registration could lead to reduced security of
tenure and more land conflict (Atwood 1990). This occurred where supportive,
overlapping, customary and residual rights of women, uneducated, nomadic and other
marginalized groups were not acknowledged and recorded in the formal individualization
and titling process.
Binswanger and Deininger (1993) opined that market imperfections prevent the
evolutionary theory from achieving the benefits. These imperfections can be:
* Political inequalities
* Policy distortions,
* Absent or imperfect land markets,
* Asymmetric information,
* Historical inequities in distribution and access to land
* Absence of insurance.
Perfect land markets with perfectly symmetrical information allowing voluntary
transactions would therefore result in the stated benefits in a relatively short space of
time. However, perfect land markets do not exist in reality, since land, unlike some other
market products, is a variable product the price of which is affected by perceptions, and
emotions of the buyer and seller (Stringer 1988). Additionally, risks in transactions are
increased because of differences between transfer rights and physical possession and use
Land administration programs accelerate the gradual individualization process by
instituting individualized property systems via titling and registration, together with the
supporting surveys and cadastre development. Whereas, under the evolutionary process,
individualization would have been gradual, allowing the supporting institutions,
legislation, and cultural acceptance of the technology to grow and develop, the imposed
development program model faces problems related to inadequate capacity and resistance
Formalization of Tenure--Legal Aspects of Property Rights
In keeping with the thinking of Alchian and Demsetz (1973), the legal view of
individualization is that formalized, private rights are easier to administer because they
provide for the self-regulation of individuals and benefit society. In 1968 Garrett Hardin
(1968) had been instrumental in publicizing this perspective of the efficacy of formal
individualization for management of land as a resource even though other researchers had
held this view prior to Hardin' s publication of "the tragedy of the commons" (Freyfogle
2002). Even though land management was not the focus of his arguments, his goal being
to apply game theory to the problem of world overpopulation, and even though he
erroneously termed as common property a situation that could better be described as open
access resource use, the examples he used were believed to speak to the inadequacy of
common property for resource management. In Judge's (2002) perception, however,
there is no such thing as open access property as all resources belong to some entity,
including the state or all of humankind, who may or may not demand compensation for
the effect of use by individuals. The legal view of individualization, therefore, focuses
on the gradual change in formal rights to use and transfer land that occurs as societies
Hernando de Soto (2000) is another key proponent of the benefits of formalization
as put forward by Demsetz and illustrated diagrammatically by Platteau (see Figure 2-1).
He suggests links between formal land titling and economic development at the level of
the individual that are more ambitious than those put forward by Platteau, and operate
beyond the agricultural sphere to include the urban environment. Firstly, he cites
instances where the lack of a formal property system can lead to lack of development
since occupiers of land who are members of the informal system in a country would not
be able to count on the support of the property system for securing their land or for
financing their entrepreneurial activities. This would leave them at an economic
disadvantage in comparison to those who have these supports. There is also a cost
attached to being informal that they must pay from their already meager resources, since
most of those who remain informal are poor, as they cannot buy their way out of
informality. Secondly, he postulates that a cadastral system can be used to positively
foster development by allowing the owner access to capital to fund enterprises. De
Soto's ideas, while attractive to many, have also been discredited by many others such as
Gilbert (2002), Fernandes (2002), Unruh (2002), and Payne (2002) for lack of
transparency in the empirical evidence collected in various countries and for exaggeration
of positive outcomes. Unruh (2002) states that formal systems are usually more easily
imposed on migrant societies such as those of early North America, which is often cited
as an example of a functional property system. Imposing formal systems on traditionally
communal or established alternative tenure systems with functional rules meets
resistance, again citing the example of the impact of formal tenure systems on the
indigenous populations of North America.
Feder and Nishio (1999) also relate formal land registration to increased access to
formal credit opportunities, higher land values, greater investment in land based
enterprises, and increased output to income ratios for land based investment, by analyzing
empirical evidence from several countries, primarily Thailand.
Gilbert (2002) cites empirical evidence obtained from Latin America to show that,
contrary to de Soto's statements, illegality and informality did not prevent development.
He also found evidence that land titling did not necessarily either encourage the accessing
of credit or improve the ability to access credit and did not increase the mobility of
homeowners in the manner required for a vibrant land market. Instead he found land
occupiers who, despite being informal, achieved perceived security of tenure based on
political tolerance, service provision and the duration of time in undisturbed possession.
He also found vibrant, informal land markets unhindered by lack of formal titles.
Brasselle et al. (2002) also state that security of tenure is indeed present in tests for
investments but this is because performing investment related activities increases security
of tenure for agriculturists and not vice versa as advanced by the ETLR. Brasselle et al.
(2002), speaking for the rural agricultural environment (as opposed to Gilbert (2002),
who presents evidence from primarily the urban environment), and speaking, also, for the
link between security of tenure and farm-based investment solely in the African context,
found conflicting evidence. They found empirical research from Green (1987), Migot-
Adholla et al. (1991), Pinckney and Kimuyu (1994) where systematic titling had no
impact on investment on agricultural land. They also found research from Harrison
(1992) that indicated that the promise of more secure tenure was not an incentive for
farmers to voluntarily register land nor did it affect their productivity. They found
research (Gavian and Fafchamps 1996; Saul 1993; de Zeeuw 1997) that stated that in
informal areas, investments were not affected (although in informal areas security of
tenure is expected to be tenuous). However, Brasselle et al. (2002) systematically list
other research (Migot-Adholla et al. 1994b; Place and Hazell 1993; Migot-Adholla et al.
1991) where security of tenure was related to investments in some communities while in
other communities the relationship was not found.
These empirical studies conflict with the ETLR view by indicating instances where
informal occupation does not restrict security of tenure or investments on land and that
land markets can exist, albeit informal, without titling.
Communal Tenure--Social Aspects of Property Rights
A developing literature on resource management and communal land tenure
questions the governance structures in individualized land tenure systems for achieving
sustainable development and for maintaining sustainable information systems (Baland
and Platteau 1996; Ostrum 1990; Wade 1988; Freyfogle 2002; Oestereich 2000). These
perspectives follow a different track to the largely economic view of land tenure that the
ETLR espouses. This alternate perspective views land tenure and property rights as a
dynamic social relationship that must be constantly negotiated and renegotiated as
cultures and societies change (Williamson and Ting 2001). Furubotn and Pejovich (1972,
1139) stated that "Property rights do not refer to relations between men and things but
rather, to the sanctioned behavioral relations among men that arise from the existence of
things and pertain to their use".
This flexibility in the relationship demands flexibility in the structures required to
manage the smooth functioning of the system and the inevitable conflicts that would arise
as it shifts and changes with time and conditions. Management of this type of structure is
performed at a group or community level. This social construct may be reflected in or be
in conflict with the formal laws of the society. While it can be argued that the economic
view provides flexibility in land tenure arrangements, since this view is founded on the
ability of the land market to adapt spontaneously to the economic forces of demand and
supply, the sociological view provides for a more controlled response to the social
situation so that equity can be preserved.
Williamson and Ting (2001) tracked this changing social relationship between
mankind and land historically, describing the global catalysts that have progressively
accelerated this changing relationship. These global catalysts are described as being;
* Imperatives for sustainable development,
* Economic reform and
* The realities of urbanization and advances in technology.
While economists argue that individualized land holding is optimal for economic
purposes for the individual, legal and land management minds such as Freyfogle (2002)
and Oestereich (2000) take the view that land management is best performed at larger
scales. This latter view therefore supports the existence of communal tenure
arrangements. Communal tenure systems even allow for greater internalization of
externalities since the positive externalities of conservation are better captured while the
negative externalities of degradation are better allocated. Individual ownership allows
individuals to focus on effects that would be felt over one lifetime while environmental
effects have long-term impact and require management structures that would base
decisions on longer time frames (Oestereich 2000).
Agarwal (2001) presented an expository analysis of current research methodologies
used in the area of communal tenure and their governance structures by Baland and
Platteau (1996), Ostrum (1990) and Wade (1988) and suggested more rigidly structured
comparative analyses that would derive models for sustainable governance that look
beyond the institutions to incorporate the many factors that apparently impact the
sustainability, equity and efficiency of the communal resource system. These factors
relate to the several characteristics of the resource system, the communal group, the
relationship between the resource system and the group, the institutional rules, the
relationship between the resource system and the institutional rules, and the external
environment. Cadastral and land registration systems analyses, since they deal with the
land as being composed of individually definable and registrable units, would benefit
from the resource and common pool literature as this suggests mechanisms for
cooperative maintenance of the information systems and also mechanisms for legislating
and defining land management units and authorities. The common pool research also
suggests alternatives to the land titling of individualized parcels such as modifying
existing communal governance structures, to bring them in line with what is posited as
being the ideal, in order for these communal governance structures to be better able to
manage land rights.
Much of the research on communal tenure describes the social benefits attributable
to the communal tenure regime. While the economic view of individualization assumes a
strictly linear process leading to complete individualization, the social view accepts a
need for communal tenure to continue to exist alongside growing individualization as
support and insurance for those in the society. Thus, Besson (1987) describes the
symbolic nature of communal tenure systems in the Caribbean and their necessity for
providing status, prestige, solidarity and economic insurance to their members. Family
land tenure exists in Jamaica, Antigua, Nevis, Montserrat, Dominica, St. Lucia, St.
Vincent, Grenada, Bequia, the British Virgin Islands, St. John in the American Virgin
Islands, Barbados, Providencia, and Trinidad and Tobago (Besson 2003). Also,
Ezigbalike et al. (1996) speak of the religious significance of land in communal tenure
systems in Africa and McLaughlin et al. (1994) compare the indigenous North
Americans' tenure systems with those of the colonizers.
Security of Tenure
The various concepts of land and property pivot on the notion that security of
tenure is required for increasing productivity, supporting development and providing
peace of mind for individuals in the society. Just as tenure has been described here to
exist on different levels; individual and communal, formal and informal, and the
permutations and gradations of these categories, the security of tenure that each level
provides also differs.
Security of tenure exists on three dimensions, each one having different importance
to different professionals (Bruce 1998). The depth of the security of tenure, or assurance
as it is termed by Place et al. (1994), relates to the degree of confidence that landholders
have that their rights to hold and use the land would be supported by the local
community, the society as a whole, and the state. This dimension is important to the
legal profession and can be indicated by the strength and the degree of enforcement of the
legislation and regulations that exist governing land rights in the jurisdiction. The
breadth of the security of tenure relates to the range of supported uses to which the land
can be put. This dimension is important to land use and land resource managers and can
be indicated by a list of possible uses to which the land can be put ranging from rights to
use, occupy, or develop, to rights to mortgage, sell, or bequeath. The duration of the
security of tenure relates to the length of time for which the rights may be held. This
dimension is important from an economic perspective and can be indicated by the value
of the investments and the production output that can be achieved within the time allotted
for the rights. These time periods can range from month-to-month to leasehold for fixed
periods to freehold in perpetuity. These three dimensions may be illustrated as in Figure
It is difficult to measure the security of tenure held by an individual (Roth and
Haase 1998) since it is a perception held by the individual based on a combination of the
value of the dimensions as they exist in a particular jurisdiction for the particular parcel
of land together with the expectations of that individual. Bloch (2003) differentiates
between obj ective security the tangible evidence of security of tenure, including the
documents and the legislation that supports the documentation and subj ective security
- the perceptions of tenure security experienced by the landholder.
Figure 2-2. Three dimensions of security of tenure
Cadastral Reform Frameworks
Cadastral System Sustainability-Technical
Dale and McLaughlin (1988), and before them Simpson (1976) and Ruoff (1957),
developed frameworks for the construction of cadastral and registration systems based on
observation and comparison of the efficiencies and benefits of then existing and historical
systems and technologies. They also adapted technical, legal and sociological principles
to determine what structure the cadastral and registration system should take. Some of
these observations of then extant and historical systems are detailed in Dale (1976) and
Dowson and Sheppard (1968). The cadastral system describes the land tenure in a
country and must be able to keep pace with and support land-based development. A
cadastre is defined in the Federation Internationale des Geometres (FIG) statement on the
.. normally a parcel based and up-to-date land information system containing a
record of interests in land (e.g. rights, restrictions and responsibilities). It usually
includes a geometric description of land parcels linked to other records describing
the nature of the interests, and ownership or control of those interests, and often the
value of the parcel and its improvements. It may be established for fiscal purposes
(e.g. valuation and equitable taxation), legal purposes conveyancingg), to assist in
the management of land and land use (e.g. for planning and other administrative
purposes), and enables sustainable development and environmental protection.
The use of the terms "normally" and "may" makes concessions for the fact that
many jurisdictions contain only some of the characteristics listed but use the term
cadastre for the system that they possess. Cadastral reform is therefore prescribed to
either establish or reengineer these systems, including laws, institutions and technology,
for recording the ownership, value and use of land. Maseyk (1993) defined cadastral
reform as "... the processes of bringing about change in the cadastral systems, which will
improve the efficiency, the operation of or the value of those systems." (Maseyk 1993,
The role of the cadastre through the years has evolved from strictly the recording of
ownership information, value and use in the early history, through supporting land
markets in the post industrialization era to management and planning of land use, to
current foci on environmental, social equity and sustainable development issues (Barnes
1990a; Williamson and Ting 2001). Frameworks for developing the cadastral system
have always stressed precision in the definition of land parcels on the spatial side as well
as precision in the determination of ownership on the legal side in order to ensure the
efficiency of the system. With the change in the role of the cadastre, the requirements for
recording ownership, value and use have expanded to where the systems must now
support a myriad of other uses. To do so, they must form part of a spatial data
infrastructure (Groot and McLaughlin 2000). Finley et al. (2000) cite examples of
infrastructures of this type that incorporate cadastral information in their form. These
examples include infrastructures developed and managed by Service New Brunswick of
Canada, the US state of North Carolina, the Public Sector Mapping Agencies of Australia
and the Dutch clearinghouse for geospatial information.
As technology advances to provide opportunities for increased precision in
measurement, acceleration in speed of computations and improved clarity and flexibility
of geospatial visualization, it has become difficult to determine, for a particular
jurisdiction, exactly what level of the technology is necessary for supporting the social
functions of the cadastre, of providing peaceful occupation of land and evidence for
protection from contestation of claim, and at what point the use of technology results in
greater conflict and contestation of land rights. This implementation problem, as it
affects the global spatial data infrastructure has been highlighted by Lummaux (1997), as
quoted in Groot and McLaughlin (2000, p23):
If it merely serves to emphasize the chasm between those who have and those who
don't, if it would be another model for the former to profit at the expense of the
latter, and if it would just aggravate the technological and economic dependencies
which already exist, this infrastructure would indeed become a terrible instrument
of oppression and retreat.
This problem is more marked in the establishment or reengineering of cadastral
systems in developing countries where technology can serve as a disincentive to the
registration of transactions by landowners. This can occur because, inasmuch as the
technology provides new options for efficiency and speed of operations and increasingly
more complex representations, technology itself also has limitations and therefore
restricts the system to being able to record and recognize only rights that can be clearly
and verbally described and boundaries that can be numerically and graphically depicted.
Where technology and legislation are, by nature, precise, standardized and generally
inflexible, tenure rules can be flexible and negotiable. For example, innovations such as
3-D cadastres are in the experimental stage of more accurately describing the spatial
extent of vertically layered rights (Stoter and Salzmann 2003) and video was used
experimentally in Algeria to visually and orally document rights (Roux and Barry 2001).
On the other hand, Ankersen and Barnes (in press) discuss the difficulties of recording
and maintaining information on the spatially, temporally and hierarchically differentiated
use rights within community concessions, extractive reserves and forest ejidos in Latin
America since the use rights are so intricately interwoven.
Cadastral System Sustainability--Data
The technical structures of the cadastre must be able to move beyond the
establishment of the cadastral land information systems to not only system scalability
requirements but also to the capacity building and institutional strengthening required to
maintain the systems over time. Dale and McLaughlin (1988, 1999), developed models
for the structure of the land administration system, and checklists for the establishment of
the multi-purpose cadastre including the institutions, technology, spatial infrastructure
and mapping required based on observation of existing systems and previous research by
National Research Council (1980), Holstein et al. (1985) and others. They envision the
ideal structure of the land administration system to be based on land information
integrated from the institutions that traditionally acquire and manage data on the
ownership, use, and value of land, that is, the land registry, the planning department and
the tax department respectively. A model of the integrated system is as shown in Figure
Dale and McLaughlin (1988, 1999) indicate the need for detailed, accurate and
current land information to meet the requirements of land managers and ultimately the
interests of equity, the environment and economic development, but they also stress the
importance of maintenance of the information:
Maintenance is more important than initial system creation for without it, the
system will become an historical monument and a folly at that. Not only must
external changes be recorded within the system but also the system must itself be
capable of change as the levels of sophistication both of the hardware and software
and of the people operating them grow. (Dale and McLaughlin 1999, 161)
Groot and McLaughlin (2000) describe the necessity for the cadastral system to be
part of an information infrastructure that would allow the sustainability of the available
land information and also maintain its reliability, increase its utility and provide lowered
costs to the users. They define the Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI) as
.. the networked geospatial databases and data handling facilities, the complex of
institutional, organizational, technological, human, and economic resources which
interact with one another and underpin the design, implementation, and
maintenance of mechanisms facilitating the sharing, access to, and responsible use
of geospatial data at an affordable cost for a specific application domain or
enterprise. (Groot and McLaughlin 2000, 5)
Justice and law
Figure 2-3. The central role of land information (Dale and McLaughlin 1999)
The position of cadastral data as one of the key foundational framework datasets is
shown in Figure 2-4. The requirements for integration and comprehensiveness of data, as
detailed in the information system framework definitions, run counter to trends towards
decentralization of data and institutions being advanced by development, sustainability
and governance literature (Baland and Platteau 1998; 1996, Grafton 2000). While
centralization of technical operations in land information management leads to economy
of scale, enhanced integration and better standardization of process, decentralization of
system location allows easier access to communities to participate in recording of
transactions and thus maintaining the currency of the database.
Geospatial Data Service CentreI
(for this domain)
Policy implementation n, Enviromne
Transfonnation services -.
Advisory services th on
policy Domain Applications
Figure 2-4. Cadastral data within the Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI) (Groot and McLaughlin 2000)
The decentralized institutions are more readily accepted by the local communities and
can adapt to suit the communities' needs.
Van der Molen (2002) differentiates between the static components and the
dynamic components of administration systems, positing that the recording of the facts at
the point in time of the creation of the system is static whilst those components that are
dynamic over time such as the relationship of people to land in the jurisdiction, the
acceptance of this relationship by the statutory authorities, and the normal transactions
that occur in a market environment require consideration prior to construction of the
system to allow the system to remain sustainable. This sustainability requires flexibility
in the initial conceptual design of the system since the system structure cannot be
frequently changed, as this would create instability and lack of confidence in the system.
Maintenance of the information within a cadastral system is also a function of the
legislation, which is part of the model of the system. Bittner and Frank (2002) develop a
model for the registration of information in the cadastre. They define the correctness of
the cadastre as the degree of equivalence between the information held in the cadastre
and the legal situation on the ground. The information represented in the cadastre is an
abstraction of the legal situation on the ground, but the legal system also is an abstraction
of the actual tenure situation on the ground as it does not completely reflect reality. For
example, a cadastre that does not accommodate strata titles is inadequate in its abstraction
if the legislation allows strata titles. Legislation that makes no provision for dealing with
strata titles is inadequate in its abstraction if strata ownership exists and is not proscribed
by law. Informality occurs when occupation or use is in direct contravention of the law.
This model of the sequential abstraction from the reality to the information in the cadastre
is shown in Figure 2-5.
Advese pssesionReality (de facto tenure situation)
Lies~urtjugmetsI enue n te egilaioAbstraction to the representation of formal
Legal tenure Formal situation (de jure tenure situation)
I ea iuto ntecdsrAbstraction to the representation of the
Description of legal
-Situation in the cadastre
Figure 2-5. Abstraction from the tenure to the cadastre adapted from Bittner and Frank
What Bittner and Frank define as incorrectness therefore would be a subset of the
actual difference between what is in the cadastre and what is found on the ground since
the situation on the ground would include informality in addition to what is not
adequately abstracted. This indicates that if the correctness of the cadastre in a specific
jurisdiction is to be measured, then the correspondence between the situation in the
cadastre and the formal situation can be measured, as in the model by Bittner and Frank.
Another measure of correspondence can be obtained by noting the difference
between the tenure on the ground and the situation in the cadastre. In this latter instance,
incorrectness includes the difference that can arise because the legislation is inadequate
or inequitable or being flouted. In both instances, incorrectness in the recorded data can
theoretically arise, because of sale, gift, donation, lease, bequest and intestate inheritance.
Then the recorded rights holder would not be the same as the actual rights holder. While
legislation can prescribe for transfers of sale, gift, donation and lease to be invalid unless
recorded and so preserve correctness of the registration system, this is impractical in
instances of bequest or intestate inheritance since the property cannot continue to belong
to the deceased until registered in the heir. The record therefore becomes incorrect
immediately upon the death of the registered owner.
Bittner and Frank recommend linking the land registry to the other registries or
institutions where real world changes impacting land rights are recorded. They develop
an automated system for marking the land registry records as being incorrect when digital
information about changes is received from other sources. The level of incorrectness of
the land registry data would thus be known until the requisite legal and administrative
procedures are completed to formally register the change. A level of correctness in the
registration system of 100% cannot be attained as information on deaths, adverse
possession, liens and personal court judgments for example would not be attainable
immediately. A level of acceptable correctness that would not affect the confidence in
and the functioning of the system is required to be specified. This level of acceptable
correctness must be set by the institution responsible for the cadastre after consideration
of the institutional capacities, the measured or anticipated impact on the users of
incorrectness, and the user requirements. This level can be amended as capacities and
technologies improve. The Ordnance Survey of Great Britain, for example, sets
benchmark targets for the currency of its topographic maps, which are used as cadastral
maps (Ordnance Survey 2004). These targets have progressed to higher and more
stringent specifications as capacities and technologies have improved.
Cadastral System Sustainability-Participation
The state institutions responsible for the data are required to maintain the
information system but the responsibility also falls on civil society to maintain the data.
Larsson (1991) determined that certain conditions encouraged society to maintain the
registers. These conditions he noted to be:
* The advantages of registration communicated to the landowners,
* The ease of registration provided by centralization of operations and simplification
* Linkages between state processes that would automatically trigger updating,
* Lowered costs of registration.
Palmer (1996) suggested that government sanctions, or credit-centered incentives,
such as facilitating access to credit for registered owners or assigning a credit risk rating
to parcels, could be utilized to encourage the support of the land registration information
system and ensure its currency. However, the model of correctness illustrated in Figure
2-4 shows that if the legislation causes low correspondence between the reality and the
abstraction to the formal situation, then the system information would appear to be more
incorrect when compared with the de facto situation and would also be less acceptable to
This need for participation and interaction between the technology and the society
has required the cadastral reform process to be more flexible and to take into
consideration more of the endogenous social issues of the jurisdiction in which it is to be
implemented. Suggested methodologies to marry the technological requirements of the
reform with the social requirements to form one proposal have come from Bittner et al.
(2000), Fourie and van Gysen (1995), Williamson and Fourie (1998), and Zevenbergen
(1998) amongst others. There have, however, been few attempts to test these
methodologies, and the technology-based structure of the cadastral reform process
remains largely unchanged. Williamson and Fourie (1998) suggested case study
methodologies for assessing the situation in the jurisdiction in which the cadastral reform
process is to be implemented prior to proposal of a solution.
Literature on the technological advances in information systems acknowledges
that there is a significant cultural effect on the adoption and diffusion of land information
systems from country to country and culture to culture. Even though the initial
expenditure may be high, establishing high technology cadastral information systems as
part of a land administration development program can tend to be more cost effective
than more labor-intensive methods. Compare the cost and efficiencies of data acquisition
and maintenance using a high technology land registration process including GPS, digital
photogrammetry and GIS software with that based on surveying individual parcels using
conventional methods and manual drafting and updating. Barnes et al. (1998) for
example, found that in the study area of Albania, conventional methods surveyed 10
hectares per day while GPS techniques surveyed 37 hectares per day. However, if the
receiving culture does not accept and adopt the technology, there would be difficulties in
maintaining the efficiency over time. Al-Gahtani (2003) posits that even though
provision of IT occurs in 90% of development banks' lending, evidence shows that the
lack of adoption of the technology by institutions and individuals can prevent benefits
accruing from the expenditure. This is particularly important in developing countries
where other factors such as infrastructure, politics and costs already encumber the
effectiveness of the technology.
There has been much research on diffusion of innovations to identify the
particular characteristics of technology that determine the rate at which the technology
would be adopted by the receiving society. Acceptance and adoption by civil society
would encourage participation in the maintenance of the data. Rogers (1983) listed these
characteristics as being:
* Relative advantage,
* Trialability and
The relative advantage is defined as the benefit perceived by the user to accrue on
adoption of the innovation. This can be a value benefit or it can be prestige attached to
being seen as adopting. Compatibility defines how closely the innovation corresponds to
the preceding technology and therefore how easy it is to adopt the new technology.
Complexity defines how difficult it is to adopt the new technology as well as the
steepness of the learning curve to adoption. Trialability defines whether the innovation
can be tested without negative repercussions if it were to be abandoned. Ob servability
denotes whether the adoption by others can be viewed so that any benefits accruing to
other adopters can be observed. Researchers in the area of GIS adoption have largely
upheld these general characteristics that are applicable for all technology adoption (Chan
and Williamson 1999). In GIS the adoption is stated to be determined by the
characteristics of the system and the characteristics of the organization within which the
GIS is established (Chan and Williamson 1999). In LIS, and registration systems in
particular that are established for the entire society, the adoption can be determined by
the characteristics of the registration system and the culture of the society. Al-Gahtani
(2003) in a study on computer adoption in Saudi Arabia found that up to 87% of
computer usage was explained by the perceived diffusion characteristics. Nedovik and
Godschalk (1996) found, in a study of the adoption of GIS technology in four agencies in
North Carolina, USA, that perceived relative advantage and compatibility of the new
system with previous computer experience of the adopters were maj or determinants of
the adoption of the technology.
Diffusion is defined as "the process of communicating an innovation to and
among the population of potential users who might choose to adopt or rej ect it" (Onsrud
and Pinto 1991, 447) or as "the process by which an innovation is communicated through
certain channels over time among the members of a social system" (Rogers 1995, 5). An
innovation is defined as "an idea, practice, or obj ect that is perceived as new by an
individual or other unit of adoption" (Rogers 1995, 11). The information system
established as a result of the land titling/registration program may be considered to be the
innovation to be adopted, but the concept of individualized land tenure, insofar as it may
be a new process particularly for societies where communal or other traditional forms of
tenure were previously prevalent, can be regarded as the innovation required to be
adopted and diffused.
Maitland (1998) posits that even prior to introducing new technology, the culture
of the society can be assessed to determine the potential for successful introduction and
rate of diffusion. However, in researching the diffusion of interactive networks, Maitland
indicates the difficulties of operationalizing the variables defining culture and presents
tentative propositions relating the variables to the adoption. While there are many
theories defining methods of categorizing national cultures in order to scientifically
measure the impact of culture on diffusion, Hofstede (1980; 1991) defined five categories
that may be used to determine the impact on the adoption of land information technology.
These categories define the ways in which the society engages:
* Power hierarchies within its structure
* Uncertainties and problems it encounters
* Gender differences
* Individuality as opposed to group action
* Long as opposed to short term orientation
Van den Toorn and de Man (2001), speaking from the perspective of GIS in
general and not necessarily registration information systems, posit that societies with
vertical power hierarchies would utilize GIS for management functions and downplay
any inherent sharing and social benefits. Societies with more horizontal power
hierarchies would do the opposite. Societies that value direct management of problems
and uncertainties would be quick to use all the novel functionalities of the GIS. Societies
that are regarded as masculine or which differentiate between treatment of males and
females would again use GIS for management and control, while more feminine cultures
would adopt the relationship building and networking aspects of GIS. They regard
individualism as being strongly and inversely correlated with power hierarchy so no
additional information is attained by adding information on the status of the
individualism in the society.
While there may be cultural differences even within a country relating to urban and
rural cultures, or amongst different organizations within the country, general
categorizations can be made about the country as a whole where the heterogeneity within
the country is less marked than that across countries. The way these categories affect
diffusion in land information systems has been investigated by van den Toorn and de
Man (2001) who admit that adequate systematic knowledge is lacking about the factors
that determine adoption of land information systems. The impact of these cultural
variables on the diffusion of interactive networks was also investigated by Maitland
(1998) but since the variables are confounding, no clear consensus on a model could be
derived using all the variables derived from the categories. Applying the variables to
land registration systems, a hypothesis can be stated where masculine societies would
adopt the system for management of the data and the use of land. Conversely a feminine
society would adopt the system for supporting equitable distribution of land. This
inconsistency in determining the direction of causality of the relationship between the
variable and the outcome arises for all the variables leading to van den Toorn and de Man
(2001) stating that the relationship is multidimensional. Maitland's (1998) proposed
hypotheses would need to be empirically tested.
To address the conflict between the technology and the society into which the
information system is being inj ected, van den Toorn and de Man (2001) suggest hybrid
methods that can be revised over time since culture is dynamic. However, these hybrid
approaches can prove to be expensive and less efficient.
Chapter 2 presents the background theory that drives the move to institute land
titling programs internationally and also shapes the structure of such programs.
Arguments that support the need for formal individualized tenure systems conflict
with research that suggests that other less formal and more communal tenure forms are
just as beneficial to investment, productivity and security of tenure.
Sustainability of the cadastral system, of which the registration system is a part, has
technical, data, and social participation components. The social participation component
is impacted by culture and can be modeled using diffusion concepts of perceived system
characteristics and also using cultural categorization.
Chapter 3 that follows details the empirical findings of current research on the
impact of land titling on land markets and sustainability of land registration systems in
FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO PROGRAM IMPACT AND SYSTEM
Empirical Data on Land Titling Impacts
The following sections trace the maj or empirical studies that have been done on the
impact of land titling/land registration programs on land market transactions of sale,
mortgage and lease. The eventual sustainability of the land registration systems in these
studies is also examined where noted. Studies that investigate the impact of land titling
and land registration on change in security of tenure are also described since security of
tenure is theoretically an intermediate requirement to transacting in the market. The
factors that contribute to the programs achieving the outcomes are identified.
Existing Studies and Methodologies in Land Titling
There have been empirical impact assessments of land titling and land registration
performed in various regions of the world using different methodologies. Few of these
have measured the sustainability of the land title registration system or the impact of land
titling programs on the formal land market over the medium term. There is very little
empirical data on these issues to be found on the Caribbean region. The applicability of
the findings in the impact studies to other cultures and regions is also questionable due to
the wide ranges of exogenous factors that affect the land registration system and the land
market. Some of the studies presented here are not based on the installation of a focused
land titling program but are comparisons between documented tenure and undocumented
tenure in a jurisdiction.
Other measures of assigning land rights that stop short of individualized title, such
as Community Land Trusts (CLTs) and Temporary Occupation Licences (TOLs) in
Kenya, Certificates of Comfort (COCs) in Trinidad and Tobago, Transitional Certificates
in Romania and Concession of the Real Right to Use (CRRU) in Brazil, have been
attempted particularly in the urban environment, but these are not considered here. The
focus here is on addressing both of the research questions, the first relating to formal land
transactions in the land market and the second relating to land registration systems
sustainability over the medium term.
There have also been studies on the impact of land titling or secure tenure on land
values (Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Peru), investments (Costa Rica, Ghana (Besley
1995) Thailand (Feder and Onchan 1987), India (Pender and Kerr 1994)), incomes
(Ecuador, Paraguay, Costa Rica) and productivity (Zimbabwe (Moor 1996)). These
outcomes, while they may be mentioned, are not the primary focus of this research.
Empirical data from Africa
Kenya and Tanzania. Pinckney and Kimuyu (1994) compared titled areas in
Kenya with untitled areas in Tanzania to determine the difference in the volume of
transactions between the locations. While Kenya had been the subj ect of land titling, the
Government of Tanzania had been concerned that titling would result in loss of equity in
landholding and had nationalized and leased land instead to occupants. The study found
that there was no difference in the number of transactions, formal or informal, between
the two locations. The study also found an insignificant number of land secured loans in
the Kenyan sample and no land-secured loans in the Tanzanian sample. The researchers
therefore concluded that land titling in Kenya had not led to an increase in transactions,
both formal and informal, and that the tenacity of the customary tenure had negated the
impact. They suggested that the resources of the country that were being invested in land
titling be otherwise deployed.
Kenya. Platteau (1996) questioned the applicability of the evolutionary theory of
land rights in the Sub-Saharan African context despite the fact that other researchers such
as Feder and Nishio (1999) presented empirical evidence from several other countries in
other regions, of titled farmers receiving more credit and investing more on their land
than untitled farmers. Platteau (1996) based his critique on empirical research done by
Land Tenure Center (LTC) (1990), Roth et al. (1994a; 1994b), Migot-Adholla et al.
(1994a; 1994b) and others in the Sub Saharan African context. These studies were
focused on access to credit and the corresponding impact on agricultural productivity and
not necessarily on the growth of the land market in terms of the changes in the number of
transactions performed on land. Platteau found that, in Kenya, whereas land sales had
increased in the short term following land reform, that is, when land registration had not
yet been completed, this growth in the formal land market was not sustained over time.
The registered parcels also soon reverted to customary transacting processes causing loss
of sustainability of the land registration system. A significant cultural effect therefore
mitigated any direct impact of land titling on the land market and on the sustainability of
the land title registration system.
Place and Migot-Adholla (1998), re-examining data from a study performed in
1988 in Kenya, found insufficient evidence to support any significant effect of
registration and land titling on the perception of security of tenure, on the use of credit by
landowners, on agricultural productivity and on land sales and the reallocation of land.
They also suggested a redirection of resources towards other measures if an increase in
agricultural productivity were the goal.
Security of tenure was measured, in the Kenyan study, by the incidence of land
titles, by the incidence of current registration, and by enumerating the use rights
perceived to be held and the number of land related disputes, including boundary and
legitimacy disputes, that had occurred. The number of sales and leases that had occurred
were also measured to determine the impact of land titling on the land market and on land
concentration. The study found 34.6% of titles were held under the current household
head and 57.7% of parcels were correctly recorded in the registry, pointing to problems in
the sustainability of the registration system and also leading to conclusions that the
landholders perceived security of tenure even without current registration (Place and
Place and Migot-Adholla suggested lack of demand by the farmers, costs of
registration, lack of awareness, and corrupt or bureaucratic institutional processes as
reasons for the lack of sustainability. These issues correspond to the relative advantage,
observability and complexity of diffusion frameworks. These factors along with the
proximity to urban centers, difference in land values, and history of commercialization in
the area, they determined, explained the disparity in the frequency of land titles across the
four study areas. The lack of transactions of sale they attributed to the indigenous tenure
system restricting the demand for and the social approval to perform transactions on land.
The titling proj ect they analyzed had begun in 1954 based on 1908 land titling
legislation. While the project systematically adjudicated and surveyed in rural areas, new
settlers were required to pay for land before they could obtain title. This was therefore a
significant factor that would have impacted on the sustainability of the land title
registration system and the perceptions of tenure security experienced by the occupants.
Although many occupants of land did not pay and thus were not eventually titled, the
government' s policy was not to remove the occupants, so few parcels had been
repossessed. While this policy would have negatively affected incentives to register, it
would have positively impacted on perceived security of tenure but not on documentary
security of tenure.
Burkino Faso. More recently, Brasselle et al. (2002) point to flaws in the design
and concept of empirical tests that both support and question the positive link between
individualized tenure and security of tenure and then to investment on land. They opine
that there is always some form of endogenous tenure underlying the titling and this must
be accounted for and controlled before statements about the correlation between security
of tenure and investments can be made. The researchers attempt to control for this effect
by choosing for analysis newly settled communities where no endogenous tenure and
therefore no tenure security would have existed prior to the titling. They then examined
investment after a short period of 5 years to determine if investments increased with
increasing security of tenure. Instead they found that investments increased security of
tenure and not the other way around. The study was performed in a community of
Burkino Faso in Africa where there was no land market so that the impact on transactions
could not be investigated.
Empirical data from Asia
India. Tender and Kerr (1994) found, in India, that any differences in credit use
between titled land and assigned state land were due to the difference in quality of the
land and not to increased security of tenure as a result of the land titling.
Thailand. The Thailand land titling project began in 1984 and presented an
opportunity for empirical testing of the benefits of instituting land titling and land
registration. It was determined in an empirical study (Feder et al. 1988) on rural Thailand
that farmers who were in possession of titled land accessed 52-521% more formal credit
than those farmers who had no title. Feder and Nishio (1999) also cited a study done 3 to
4 years after the Land Titling Project in one area of rural Thailand that indicated that
activity in the land market had grown over the short term from 35% to 205% households
engaged in transactions in the titled area as opposed to the yet untitled area.
These studies attributed the difference partially to the fact that the economic
environment supported the ability of the farmers to access credit and receive returns on
their investments in agriculture. Pinckney and Kimuyu (1994) also attributed the impact
to the fact that no previous customary tenure existed in the areas surveyed in Thailand,
that would have caused resistance to the new system and reluctance to mortgage.
Pinckney and Kimuyu also pointed to the supply of credit advanced by the government of
Thailand as contributing to the impact of the land titling on credit access. Though
focused more on the success of proj ect output than the proj ect outcomes,
Rattanabirabongse et al. (1998) determined that the success of the Thailand titling proj ect
was due to the thriving agricultural sector, the focus of the proj ect solely on land titling,
the capacities and efficiencies of the implementing institutions, the supportive legislative
environment, the absence of customary tenure, and the existence of continued political
More recent studies, however, question the success of socially equitable longer
term proj ect outcomes in Thailand, citing corruption in land distribution which has led to
land concentration, marginalization of the poor who have occupied land categorized as
forest land for decades, and eventual landlessness caused by rising prices that became out
of the reach of the poor (Leonard and Narintarakul Na Ayutthaya 2003).
Empirical data from the Caribbean
Jamaica. An IDB study (1986), performed in Jamaica, found that farmers on titled
land had planted almost twice as many permanent and semi-permanent crops as those on
untitled land in a voluntary sporadic titling process.
Empirical data from Latin America
Peru. De Soto (1989) presented the case of Peru and the difference between the
tenure security offered by untitled and titled land. Tenure security was deduced from the
fact that 13% of the lots on informal untitled land were involved in litigation. The titled
land was also valued nine times higher than the untitled land.
Brazil. Alston et al. (1996) performed research in Brazil on the impact of titling on
land values, demand for title and magnitude of investment. While this study did not
directly focus on security of tenure or on the volume of land transactions of sale and
mortgage, information on documentary security of tenure may be deduced from the
observed incidence of title. The distance from the market center and the duration of
occupation were determined to be related to the incidence of title. Title was required to
provide security in the contested regions close to the market center.
Paraguay. In Paraguay, Carter and Olinto (1996) found that land titling increased
the incidence of credit but that this credit access was affected by the size of the farm
because the transaction costs were a larger percentage of the value of the land for small
Honduras. The impact of land titling on credit was researched in Honduras by
L6pez (1996). Based on a survey of 450 households, the study found that 8% more titled
farmers than the untitled ones received credit and the titled farmers received almost 4
times what the untitled farmers received in credit.
Jansen and Roquas (1998) also assessed the Honduran land titling proj ect that was
initiated in 1982. The project was intended, as is usually proposed in order to derive the
benefits posited by the ETLR, to improve security of tenure and by so doing to facilitate
credit access and agricultural productivity. From their assessment of the outcomes in one
village the researchers determined that the proj ect was unsuccessful in its aims because of
the political environment in which the land titling had occurred. The project had a social
aim of empowering the poor, yet payments were required for obtaining titles on the land
the poor occupied. The payments were out of the reach of most of the landholders.
Political conflict and mistrust led to a decrease in security of tenure as a result of the
project. The alternate land market arrangements involving private sale contracts were
supported by the landholders, leading to non-adoption of the formal registration process
and lack of sustainability of the land registration system. The process was not systematic,
so participation was not comprehensive. The outcome was that perceived security of
tenure was not improved but was reduced in some instances, formal credit access did not
improve, and agricultural productivity did not increase. The study explored the impact of
the titling proj ect by interviewing villagers in the study area and documenting their
perceptions of the process and outcomes of the titling proj ect.
Nicaragua. Deininger et al. (2003) examined the land rental and land sales
markets during the implementation of land policy reforms in Nicaragua between 1995
and 1998. Between 1995 and 2001, 30,000 titles were awarded to occupants of land in a
selective systematic process. The comparison over the short interval pointed to only
modest improvement in equity in land holding and an inverse relationship between
productivity and farm size. However, while the land reform had involved titling and
registration of land to occupants, the program was still ongoing at the time of the
The focus of the land reform program was on rural agricultural land markets. The
methodology used was the sampling of 2000 agricultural households. Information was
acquired on several socio-economic indicators including size of land holdings, area of
land purchased within the 5 years preceding the study, access to credit and type of land
tenure possessed. The size of holdings per household was normalized to size of holdings
per adult and plotted against the net purchases of land area in 1995 and 1998. This
visualization of the impact of the land reform on the land market indicated no significant
difference between the sizes holdings purchased in the two years. It was determined that
2% of the sample had purchased land during the 5-year study period. The rental markets,
however, increased for large landowners.
Other more rigorous statistical regression analyses were also performed to
determine the relative impact of several other factors on land sales and rentals beyond the
presence or absence of title, such as age of head of household, years of education of the
head of household and other variables. The researchers attributed the lack of growth in
the land market to credit market imperfections, which restricted demand for land, and
suggested that accompanying legislation and policy measures were necessary to foster
land market growth.
Empirical data from Transitional Economies
Projects in transitional economies in Europe and Central Asia are focused on
individualizing land for creating land markets (Williamson 2001). However, it is too
soon to determine the medium term impact of these proj ects, as the proj ects are still
ongoing. Market activity is flourishing in some cases, such as in Armenia, where
transactions have doubled over one year (Burns et al. 2003), but may not continue over
the medium term. Bloch (2000) reported very few sale transactions occurring in Albania
between the transfer of land to citizens in 1991 and the study period in 1995.
Factors Impacting Land Titling Outcomes
The findings from the selection of empirical studies can be collated to derive the
key recurring factors that appear to affect the ability of the land titling and land
registration programs to lead to the anticipated benefits. Table 3-1 and Table 3-2
condense the findings in the studies. These factors are contextual but they represent a
broad view of the factors that have been determined to be relevant in different
jurisdictions. From this assessment a list of recurring factors can be compiled.
A list of factors that impact on the ability of land titling and land registration
programs to lead to enhanced security of tenure, improved credit use, and increased sale
transactions can be gleaned from the empirical data to comprise:
* Culture in the form of tenure type, perceptions and practices
* Credit market status availability of credit, opportunities, and insurance
* Appropriateness of land related legislation
* Appropriateness of land related policy
* Cost of titling/regi strati on
* The nature of political relationships
* Presence of alternative transacting arrangements including informal arrangements
* Whether land titling was systematic or sporadic, voluntary or compulsory
Table 3-1. Existing empirical data on impact of land titling/land registration
Where When Time slice Finding Contributing
Kenya, 1994 40 years after the No difference in sales Culture
Tanzania beginning of No difference in credit access (communal
sporadic titling Some reduced security tenure)
Kenya, 1996 During titling in No increase in land sales Culture
Uganda, Kenya, Uganda, Also: (communal
others Zimbabwe Short term growth not sustained tenure)
Kenya 1998 40 years after the No increase in sales Lack of demand
beginning of Also: No change in perception of for titling
sporadic titling security of tenure Culture
No change in use of credit (communal
No change in agricultural tenure)
No change in land allocation
Burkino 2002 5 years after the No impact of security of tenure on No link
Faso beginning of investments
* Pre-existing land distribution gender, ethnic, political, religious variability
* Characteristics of land distance from market, size, value
30 years after
16 years after
During the first 3
years of sporadic
Increase in transactions
Increase in permanent crops
Increase in credit access
Increase in land value
Increase in investment
No formal credit access
Decrease in security of tenure
No improvement in agricultural
Rental market increase
Modest improvement in equity and
Inverse relationship between
productivity and farm size
Size of farm
demand for land
Although there are fewer studies that focus on the sustainability of the land
registration system, factors noted in the literature to impact on the ability of land
registration systems to remain sustainable in participation include:
* Culture in the form of tenure type, perceptions and practices
* Society driven demand for registration
* Cost of regi strati on
* Awareness of the system (education)
* The nature of the institutional processes corruption, bureaucracy
* Latitude of political policies
The myriad of factors prevents relating them all and assessing them as independent
variables in a single equation in a single context. Instead, case study methodology and
comparisons of indicators were used in this research, as have been used in previous
research, to examine whether land titling/land registration proj ects lead to growth in land
markets and whether the land registration systems thus installed are sustainable in terms
of participation over the medium term.
Table 3-2. Existing empirical data on sustainability of land registration systems
Researcher Where When Time scale Finding Reason
Platteau Kenya, 1996 various Reversion to Culture (communal
Uganda, customary tenure)
Place and Kenya 1998 44 years Loss in Lack of demand
Migot-Adholla after the sustainability Cost of registration
beginning Lack of awareness
of sporadic Corrupt or
Chapter 3 presented a series of empirical studies that have investigated the impact
of land titling/land registration on the security of tenure, credit use, and agricultural
productivity and the sustainability of the systems. From an examination of the
conclusions of these studies, a list of contributing factors that impact on the ability of
land titling/land registration to achieve results is derived. The studies do not test for
medium term impact after systematic titling.
Chapter 4 presents the methodology for testing for medium term impact after
systematic titling in the case study jurisdiction of St. Lucia within the context of the
Background of the Case Study
Overview of St. Lucia
The island nation of St. Lucia, in the Caribbean, shares the topography and
geomorphology of several of its also volcanically formed island neighbors such as
Grenada, Montserrat, and St. Vincent. The topography is therefore steep, rising to 950m
above sea level within a total area of 616 sq. km. The country had a population of
158,000 persons in 2001 (Central Statistical Office [CSO] 2003), all of whom value land
highly and especially prize the limited quantity of available flat or gently sloping areas.
St. Lucia is particularly well suited for a study of this type at this time since the
systematic titling program that was performed there between 1984 and 1987 was one of
the few land titling programs that completed an entire country over a short time span. All
parcels were therefore recorded and issued with titles, even if the titles were provisional
in some instances, making the proj ect an extremely successful one in terms of the proj ect
output. This gives a starting point from which to assess the current status and the impact
of land titling and land registration programs on project outcomes. The 16 years that
have elapsed since the program also allow the initial impact to have been felt and
absorbed, so that the current transaction activity would not be affected by any unnatural
initial activity resulting from the institution of the program and the land title registration
system. The stable political and peaceful social environment owing in part to a society
that is relatively ethnically and culturally homogeneous removes some of the exogenous
factors that impact on the success of land titling and land registration proj ects and land
markets. The population is predominantly African and 90% Roman Catholic.
While St. Lucia's unique status is an asset to its selection for this research, the
country also has similarities with other jurisdictions that would make generalization of
the findings possible. The economic environment is similar to other small island
Caribbean countries in the dependence on agriculture and tourism. The "family land"
system of multiple owner tenure is also common to several other islands in the Caribbean
and has its parallel in the communal ownership systems of many developing countries
such as the indigenous tenure systems of Latin America and the customary tenure
systems of Africa.
Justification and Aims of the LRTP
The Government of St. Lucia established a land reform commission in 1979
(Stanfield 1988a) that reported on the land tenure in the country and its effect on
agricultural productivity and therefore the economy. The early history and settlement
patterns of the country were believed to have led to an inequitable landholding situation
where most of the agricultural producers were small scale farmers on poor and marginal
lands while a few land holders commanded large highly fertile areas. The "family-land"
form of communal tenure that exists in the country and in other countries of the
Caribbean was also singled out as being responsible for the inability of landholders to
access working capital and effect efficient management and production decisions on the
land. The systems for recording rights to land were also inadequate and difficult to
negotiate, being based on transaction recording.
The family-land tenure type, which was believed to be the bane of the land tenure
system and of productive agriculture, is defined as one in which the holders of the land
have inherited undivided shares in the land, usually after a series of intestate devolutions
with no documentary identification of the size of individual shareholding nor the names
of persons entitled. Using a strictly legal interpretation of inheritance legislation, the
number and size of shareholding usually can be determined with some difficulty.
However, the actual practice for deciding membership in the entitled group deviates
somewhat from this formal determination, as extended family members may be accepted.
The effect of this type of communal tenure is similar to that of communal groupings in
traditional settings in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere (Bruce 1983). Conflicts can
occur over use and physical limits of occupation, transactions and some development
decisions require the approval of a large number of individuals and so are difficult to
effect, and credit institutions are reluctant to extend credit to individual group members
for fear of the difficulty of negotiating transaction decisions with the entire group
(Stanfield 1988a). More recent research submits that the family land form of tenure is to
be commended for being a resilient entity in St. Lucia that provides economic support for
farmers in the uncertain market environment (Duj on 1995).
The result of the reports on the identified problems was that the Government
decided to focus on specific areas to improve the agricultural productivity. These areas
included (Stanfield 1988a):
* Diversification away from the dependence on banana growing
* Introduction of agricultural technology
* Promotion of agriculture as an attractive profession to youths
* Rationalization of the land tenure situation
The Land Registration and Titling Program (LRTP) was proposed to address the
last point of focus, the rationalization of the land tenure situation, by improving security
of tenure on individually owned land through titling and recording titles, by reducing the
incidence of family land and putting legislation and institutions in place to encourage and
facilitate individualization of land and by installing a land title registration system to
replace the deeds registration system and thereby to promote investment in the land
market from credit institutions and potential buyers.
The LRTP Process
The LRTP began with the introduction of appropriate legislation to give authority
to the process. The Saint Lucia Land Registration Act No. 12 of 1984, the Land
Adjudication Act No. 11 of 1984 and the Land Surveyors' Act No. 13 of 1984 were the
primary laws that, at the time of the LRTP, superseded the provisions of the St. Lucia
Civil Code Chapter 242 on matters of land rights and interests in land (Deterville 1988).
The LRTP proceeded to systematically and compulsorily adjudicate, demarcate, survey,
and record, rights to land over all rural areas in St. Lucia and finally over the urban area
of Castries, resulting in a complete graphic and textual record of rights to over 33,000
parcels over all of St. Lucia (United Aerial Mapping Inc. 1988).
Absolute, provisional and leasehold titles were given depending on a) whether the
parcel holder could prove ownership by documentary evidence or had been in occupation
for over thirty years, b) whether the parcel holder had been in occupation for less than
thirty years even with documentary evidence and c) whether the parcel holder was party
to an agreement for lease of the parcel for a period of two years or greater. The Land
Registration Act, Section 29 (3) provides for the upgrading of provisional title to absolute
title upon the expiration of 12 years from first registration. Conversion from provisional
title to absolute title based on this regulation, however, requires application by the
proprietor of the land and assessment by the Registrar to ascertain whether the conversion
should be granted.
It was originally intended that the vexed problem of family lands be dealt with
during the LRTP by subdividing and registering individual parcels based on the
undivided interests held in the land and with the consent of the family members involved
(Stanfield 1988b). However, the project personnel were required to keep within the time
and budget constraints for completing the proj ect, so their focus was not on persuading
family members to subdivide, and therefore many of the family land parcels remained in
multiple ownership. Dealing with the complex issue of determining who was entitled and
the size of their entitlement, and obtaining agreement, would have required additional
resources of staffing, money and time. Since the LRTP provided an opportunity for the
family land parcels to be subdivided and the subdivided portions individually registered
free of charge to the owners, the fact that many of these parcels remained in multiple
ownership was felt to be an indication that the owners were not interested in
individualization. In addition, the lengthy and strictly regulated planning approval
process required prior to subdivision, was also thought to affect the willingness of the
family land owners to subdivide during the LRTP. The result was the distribution of
tenure types indicated in Table 4-1 and displayed in Figure 4-1.
Table 4-1. Incidence of family land in 1987 from baseline data
Type of Ownership Babonneau Micoud Choiseul Millet Total
Individual 41 9 9 11 70
57.7% 22.0% 20.9% 37.9% 38.0%
In common (husband and wife) 14 18 10 11 53
19.7% 43 .9% 23.3% 37.9% 28.8%
Family land 16 14 24 7 61
22.5% 34.1% 55.8% 24.1% 33.2%
Totals 71 41 43 29 184
Source: Stanfield 1988b
The table and the figure indicate that the incidence of family land was greatest in
Choiseul and least in Babonneau at the time of the baseline study in 1987 after the
completion of the LRTP. However, individualized parcels, including parcels held in
community were greater in number in all the communities except Choiseul.
B abonne au
M ille t
g In common (husband and w ife)
O Family land
Figure 4-1. Distribution of tenure types in field sample of 1987 Baseline Study
SWhereas the LRTP recorded husband and wife ownership as "in common" ownership according to the
Land Registration Act, a subsequent amendment restored the ability of the Civil Code to recognize this type
of husband and wife ownership as "in community". The application of succession rules differs between the
two types of registration (Deterville 1988, Stanfield 1988b).
The Baseline Study
The baseline study was carried out between July and December 1987 by the Land
Tenure Center of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, funded by the USAID, which
also funded the LRTP. The reports on the data acquisition and data analysis were
published in 1988. At the time of the baseline study the LRTP had not yet concluded but
the areas surveyed during the study had already been adjudicated, titled and registered.
The baseline study was proposed to be the first phase of diachronic research on the long-
term effects of the LRTP. The research intended to show the impact of the LRTP via the
indicators of number of transactions on agricultural land, value of agricultural land, and
productivity of agricultural land (Stanfield 1988a).
Community case studies were carried out in the communities of Babonneau,
Micoud, Choiseul and Millet, which fall substantially but not wholly within the
administrative quarters of Rural Castries, Micoud, Choiseul and Anse La Raye (Gomes
1988; Thornburg 1988a; Crichlow 1988; Barrow 1988). Initial analyses were also done
on the status of the sectors where impacts of the LRTP were likely to be experienced
(Stringer 1988; Barnes 1988; Thornburg 1988b; Dickerman 1988). These areas were the
land market, the cadastral information system, agricultural credit access, and land tenure.
These data provide useful comparisons to determine the change in St. Lucia after
the LRTP. Barnes (1990b) also assessed the effectiveness of the cadastral system shortly
after completion of the program. His assessment therefore covered not only the registry
information but also the graphical aspects of the cadastre. The system was assessed using
the criteria of efficiency, complexity, maintainability, cost, quality and utility. Barnes
alluded to the future potential problems in maintainability of the registers including
professional acceptance and informal activity especially on inheritance. He referred to
recommendations by Liverpool (1986) to have the Land Registrar acquire continued
information from the Registrar of Births and Deaths. It was further suggested by
Liverpool that the Land Registrar be authorized to confiscate to a trust, lands not
registered after inheritance after a sufficient period of publication of notice.
Current Functioning of the Land Registry
The Saint Lucia Land Registration Act 1984 provided legal authority for the
registration of different categories of rights to distinguish prescriptions or restrictions in
the use or transmission of those rights. While the Act originally superseded previous law
governing land, an amendment subsequently reinstated the ability of the Civil Code to
override specific prescriptions in the Act. The Land Registry, registers the following
categories of rights by qualifying the type of rights possessed on registration based on the
1984 legislation and the Civil Code:
1. Individual ownership-unqualified sole proprietorship
2. Ownership in community--Ownership by the community of marriage
3. Ownership in shares--the situation where more than one but less than four persons
hold undivided shares
4. Executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased
5. Trusts for sale--registration of four or more owners of undivided shares
6. Heirs of 'X' deceased--the mechanism for recording family land tenure
7. Rights of survivorship
8. Crown land2
9. Crown and private
2 Though independent, St. Lucia is under the British monarchy and the titular head of state is Queen
Elizabeth II. Crown land is equivalent to state land.
The maj ority of "ownership in shares" was found to be in the names of two owners,
apparently husband and wife.
The registration of the "executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased",
"trusts for sale", "heirs of 'X' deceased" and "rights of survivorship" were all
mechanisms used in an attempt to ameliorate the problems of the communal tenure
system being experienced in St. Lucia prior to the LRTP.
In the instances where a list of the persons accepted to be owners by the communal
group could be provided, the list was attached to the adjudication records and the first
four persons named were declared to be the trustees for sale. These four then had legal
authority to perform any actions requiring the authorization and signature of the owners
of the land. There have been queries about the legality of the actual process of
determining the four names to be registered as trustees for sale (Deterville 1988) and
anecdotal evidence of some of the trustees acting in their own interests and not in the
interests of the communal group.
In instances where no clear indication of actual membership in the communal
group could be provided, the land was registered in the name of "heirs of 'X', deceased".
Registration with "rights of survivorship" allows the number of owners in the communal
group to decrease by attrition.
The registration of the "administrator or executor of the estate of the deceased"
sometimes indicates a reversion to unregistered status since, on viewing the land registry
data, it can be observed that these registrations are many years old. This suggests that the
parties involved have been delayed in assenting or transmitting the interests by conflict or
cost or are not interested in so doing.
An understanding of the way the society treated these various categories was
important for determining the level of acceptance of the land registration system.
Current Land Market Environment
Parallel with the promise offered by the LRTP to improve the functioning of the
land market came the negative effect on the land market of the gradual loss of
preferential trading with the United Kingdom. The formation of the European Union
resulted in a managed cessation of preferential prices on banana export to the United
Kingdom between 1992 and 2000 (Dujon 1997). More stringent production and product
quality standards are required to be met in order to remain in the market. In addition,
weather and pest conditions also affected banana production. Banana production has
been declining over the years with a corresponding drop in revenue as shown in Figure 4-
2 and Figure 4-3 while tourism has been increasing over recent years to alleviate the
shortfall in the economy (International Monetary Fund [IMF] 1999) as illustrated by the
increase in tourists in Figure 4-4.
The last 5 years have seen an increase in defaulters on mortgages because of the
effects of the problems in the banana industry. Foreclosures, however, are difficult to
accomplish and, when they are accomplished, sometimes result in a loss to the credit
institutions. Financial institutions have therefore tended to be rather conservative in how
much credit is approved in relation to the value of the collateral. Only an amount
equivalent to 66 2/3 % of the value of the land is loaned. Secondary sources of income
are also required beyond any income that may be derived from the proj ect for which the
loan is being requested.
The foreclosure mechanism is governed by the Civil Code. Mortgages do not carry
a power of sale clause so in the instance of default the credit institution must sue the
~9" ~o" ~o"
- / j /
- i A
- 1 / \
Source for data: St. Lucia Government Statistics Department 2004a.
Figure 4-3. Declining revenue from bananas (1986-2003)
defaulter personally. In the overburdened St. Lucian court system, the suit may take as
long as 3 years.
~9" ~o* ~o"
Source for data: St. Lucia Government Statistics Department 2004a.
Figure 4-2. Declining banana production (1986-2003)
If judgment is in favor of the credit institution then the court is responsible for
conducting a public auction to recover the outstanding loan amount. If fewer than 3 bids
are received for the sale then the sale cannot be completed, the auction is voided and the
process repeated. There is anecdotal evidence that some defaulters send an agent to place
an unrealistically high bid, thus ensuring that no bids would follow.
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Source for data: St. Lucia Government Statistics Department 2004b.
http://www. stats. gov.1c/m ai n4.htm
Figure 4-4. Increase in tourist visitors over recent years (1997-2001)
During the long period required to resolve the issue the defaulter remains in
possession of the property at no cost. This legal process is socially beneficial as it delays
or prevents loss of land, but it does not encourage credit institutions to extend credit
easily. There is little or no secondary mortgage market to provide additional capital for
3 Personal interviews with lawyers (incl. Clarence Rambally, Norman Francis and Andre Arthur) and
bankers (incl. Andrew Baptiste) in St. Lucia
Current Transaction Processes
The current transaction process for sale involves, in most cases, the survey of the
parcel to be sold if no previous cadastral survey exists. The approximate demarcation
done during the LRTP is considered inadequate for transaction purposes. A cadastral
survey performed to legal specifications as prescribed in relevant legislation and
performed by authorized professionals is required. Survey fees are based on the area to
be surveyed and could be EC$ 25005 (US$ 926) for a typical residential lot. If mutation
(subdivision) is required, approval from the planning authority is necessary. This process
attracts a fee ranging from EC$20 (US$7) for parcels under 3000 sq. ft. to EC$30 (US$
11) for parcels over 7000 sq. ft. Infrastructure may be required to be installed prior to
obtaining approval for the subdivision.
A lawyer is required by law (Land Registration Act 1984, Part VI, Section 67) to
prepare any instrument that deals with the transfer of land. The lawyer' s fee is usually on
a sliding scale based on a percentage of the value of the property beginning at 7% for a
vacant lot. The financial institution also charges a fee for processing of a mortgage if one
is to accompany the purchase of the land.
Government taxes are payable on all transfers of sale or donation based on the
value stated in the transfer document. Purchasers must pay 2% of the value of the land.
For parcels valued over EC$ 50,000 (US$ 18,500) (the vendor must also pay a tax based
on a sliding scale. Non-nationals must pay a flat rate of 10% of the value of the property
as a purchase tax.
4 From personal interviews with land surveyors (incl. Rufinus Baptiste, Fosh Modeste and Peter Felix).
5 The St. Lucia currency is pegged at EC$2.70 = US$ 1.00
Registration fees are required at the final stage of the transaction process. This is
the smallest fee of the entire process, being only EC$ 20 (US$7). The entire process
itself can be quite costly for the average landowner or potential purchaser. Typical fees
for the sale transaction of a vacant parcel of land of 465 m2, without mortgage, would be
as shown in Table 4- and would amount to 20% of the value of the land.
Table 4-2. Typical transaction fees for parcel of land
INPUTS COST EC$
Land survey 2,500
Planning appl. Not required
Engineering plan Not required
Infrastructure Not required
Purchase price 30,000
Legal fees 2,500
Stamp duty 600
Vendor' stax exempt
Bank fee Not required
Total fees 6,050
Source: Interviews with St. Lucian professionals and institutions
Comparative Analysis Data Requirements
The baseline study was performed at the completion of the program in 1987 to
determine the impact of the program on the land market and agricultural productivity
(Land Tenure Center 1988). Data were collected at that time via questionnaires on both
quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the land parcels and the landholders as well
as the outputs of the land-titling program.
This research is based on a longitudinal study that compares current 2004 data with
the 1987 baseline data. Results have applicability within and outside of the region in
areas of similar economic and cultural composition.
To determine the impact of the land titling and registration program through a
longitudinal comparison of current and baseline land market data, comparable data
needed to be acquired. The questionnaire and the data gathered for this research
therefore had to be the same or a subset of the data gathered in the baseline study, so
therefore this requirement constrained the selection of sample data. Additional data
describing the economic and social and land related environment was derived from
interviews with professionals in the land market including land surveyors, valuation
surveyors, bankers and lawyers.
Community sample design
Some statements on how representative the samples selected are of the population
of parcels and landholders under study are provided in this section.
At the time of the baseline study in 1987, the population of communities in the
country was grouped into blocks on the basis of observed land-driven socio-economic
variability amongst communities for purposes of a community case study (Stanfield
1988). Four communities-Babonneau, Micoud, Choiseul and Tete Chemin--were
selected at that time to represent this variability.
Babonneau is peri-urban to Castries and represented then and continues to represent
more of the urban consciousness that impacts perceptions about land and land tenure.
This community has a large number of individualized land holdings of relatively high
land values, and growing areas of residential and commercial land use. Micoud is rural
and agricultural, deriving income from bananas, still an important mainstay in the St.
Lucian economy. Choiseul and Tete Chemin are also rural and primarily agricultural,
and are more isolated farming communities. In 1987, Choiseul was a community with an
agricultural base in vegetables while Tete Chemin had just begun agricultural production.
Subsequently, much of the land at Tete Chemin was acquired by the state for the
construction of a dam. Some small areas, unutilized in the dam construction, were
returned to the original owners or resold to private individuals. Much of the land,
however, remains state land, which would distort any current analyses of land markets
and landowner perceptions even should the state parcels be removed from the analysis.
These four communities represent the maj or land-based factors and perceptions that
impact on the functioning of both the Land Registry and the land market in the St. Lucian
environment. The four communities are also geographically well distributed over the
island as seen in Figure 4-5. The differences among the communities and the growth and
urbanization of rural Castries in which Babonneau lies can be illustrated by the
population statistics published by the St. Lucia Government Statistics Department
(2004c) and reproduced here in Table 4-3. The figures given are for the districts in which
the sample communities fall. Rural Castries displays the largest population and the
largest growth between 1990 and 2001 of all the districts. Registry map sheets that
covered these communities were then stratified, in the 1987 survey, on the basis of
tenurial variability within the communities.
Tenurial variability was represented by the incidence of family land, which is the
type of tenure more common in rural areas. Therefore the map sheets for each
community were separated into two groups: one containing greater percentages of family
land parcels, and the other group containing smaller percentages of family land parcels
and therefore larger percentages of individualized parcels. Fifteen registry sheets were
chosen at random at that time from sheets with higher and lower incidences of family
ected fo~r Data Capture
O 2 5 5 10
- Registry Sheets
Figure 4-5. Index of registry sheets showing communities selected for survey
Registry Sheets SelE
land within each community, giving 3 or 4 sheets per community. Sheet boundaries do
not coincide exactly with community boundaries but neither do perceptions and use of
land change abruptly at boundaries. The non-conformity of boundaries therefore does
not affect the validity of the use of the sheets to represent the communities. The current
research used the same sampled parcel sheets as the original baseline survey so that
comparisons with the original baseline data could be made.
Table 4-3. Populations of districts containing sampled communities
Di stri ct 1990 1995 2000 200 1
Castries City 2003 2, 156 2,362 1,814
Rural Castries 39,090 42,430 45,164 51,213
Micoud 15,178 16,460 17,708 16,051
Anse-La-Raye 5,065 5,492 6,356 6,071
Choiseul 6,443 6,988 7,323 6, 139
Source: St. Lucia Government Statistics Department 2004
(http://www. stats. gov.1c/pop22. htm)
For the purposes of this current research, data on all parcels within these 15 sheets
were extracted from the registry as part of a cluster sampling approach on the general
functioning of the land registry and land market. For the field visits, 30 parcels were
randomly sampled from the communities of Babonneau and Micoud, distributing the
sampled amount evenly over the sheets within each area. Figure 4-6 shows the map
sheets from which the parcels for field interview were sampled.
The communities of Babonneau and Micoud were selected from the four areas for
the field survey since they sufficiently describe both the more urbanizing and
individualized tenure and the more rural and multiple-owner, family land tenure types of
land parcels and landholders. Babonneau, as can be observed from the map, is
approximately 5 kilometers from the center of Castries at the closest point and can be
reached by a short 10-minute drive on well-paved roadways. Micoud is less easily
accessible from the capital, Castries, but can be reached by an hour' s drive on well-paved
-Sampled Map sheets
0 2.5 5 10
Figure 4-6. Location of map sheets from which field interview parcels were sampled
Sheets Sampled for Field Survey
SE LA RAYE
I ~DENNER Y
RIERE \ ICOud
Field sample design
A sample size of 30 was chosen for the field sample in each of the 2 communities
of Babonneau and Micoud. This sample size allows standard statistical tests about
population means to be performed when the data on the variable being tested are
normally or near normally distributed. A sample size of 30 also allows comparison of
binomial type responses, of maximal variability, that is, 50% success and 50% failure,
between the two areas to within & 17.5% at the 95% confidence level. A total sample
size of 60 in the two communities allows comparison of binomial type responses, of
maximal variability, between the current study and the previous baseline study to 12.5%
at the 95% confidence level. This means that for instances where the probability of the
event occurring is equal to the probability of the event not occurring, these precisions
apply. Otherwise, precisions will be greater. Since many of the questions were binomial
in type, for example whether there had been a sale or not, these precision statements are
valid for most of the derived statistics.
A simple sample size equation was used to determine the precision of the surveys
given the sample sizes (see equation 1).
n= 2 ......1
where n is the sample size,
Z is the abscissa of the normal curve which bounds, on either side of the mean, the
area 1-a or the desired confidence level.
p is the estimated proportion of a favorable (or unfavorable) response.
e is the desired level of precision.
Figure 4-7 shows the distribution of the Hield sampled parcels for one of the sheets
Figure 4-8 shows the distribution of the Hield sampled parcels for one of the sheets
in Babonneau. These Eigures indicate the randomness of the distribution of the parcels
that were Hield surveyed. The maps also indicate the difference in parcel density between
the rural area of Micoud and the urbanized area of Babonneau. All 7 land registry sheets
displaying the distribution of the field sampled parcels are presented in Appendix A.
Micoud Sheet 1228B
Field Surveyed Parcels
SField Surveyed Parcel
SOther Reg stered Parcel
300 150 0 300 Meters
Figure 4-7. Distribution of field surveyed parcels on one sheet in Micoud