Hernando de Soto on land titling:

Consensus and criticism






informality, property rights, extra-legality, poverty reduction


The proliferation of informal settlements is one of the most relevant consequences of the urbanization process that has been affecting most of the cities in the Global South. Among the different ways to cope with this issue, the regularization of informal settlements through land titling has been one of the main shared strategies that scholars and policy makers have focused on for the last twenty years. A relevant and well-known contribution concerning this issue is the one provided by the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. Defined together, one of the best economists in the world, and the ‘guru of neo-liberal populism’, de Soto attracts both important endorsements and harsh criticisms for his theories. The contribution of this paper is to provide a detailed framework of de Soto main achievements, in terms of his current institutional influence and the international impact of his ideas, in contraposition with an analysis of the most relevant critiques developed against his theories.




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