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Based largely on economist, Hernando de Soto’s, work many developing countries have implemented programmes of formalisation of property in order to unleash capital located within informal settlements and to promote wider economic growth. Although many authors have illustrated that legalised property alone does not necessarily lead to these economic advantages, Brazil’s government has sought to create other mechanisms that should help the production of such benefits. For this reason, this paper, drawn from my Masters dissertation, explores land regularisation in the informal settlement, Vidigal, in Rio de Janeiro. It aims to understand the economic impact of land regularisation in Vidigal and if the benefits of legalised property, proposed by de Soto, have actually materialised there. By looking at one community, it hopes to highlight some of the shortcomings of the programme that still persist, which should be considered during the design and implementation of future programmes.
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