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Urban Property Rights in Mongolia

Last registered on March 10, 2015


Trial Information

General Information

Urban Property Rights in Mongolia
Initial registration date
March 10, 2015

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
March 10, 2015, 10:23 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Texas at Austin
PI Affiliation
Ryerson University
PI Affiliation
University of Pennsylvania
PI Affiliation
Duke University

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Do property and land rights lead to better access to credit and increased investments in one’s land? This study takes place in Mongolia where many recent migrants to urban areas lack property rights. Researchers are evaluating the impact of a program that provides direct assistance to households seeking to privatize and register land plots. They will measure the program’s impact on the migrants’ access to credit, investment in land and housing, property values, labor market outcomes, and household income.

Policy Issue:
Having a well-defined system of land and property rights is thought to be extremely important for increasing investment, as ownership of land may incentivize investment by ensuring that tenants receive the long-term returns from improving their land. Property rights may also be an important component in access to credit, since land can be used as a collateral asset and increase the likelihood of a borrower receiving a loan. Large land-titling policies have been undertaken in several developing countries, particularly in South America and Southeast Asia in order to increase land investments and income security.

Context of the Evaluation:
More and more poor rural Mongolians are abandoning traditional nomadic herding practices and migrating to the cities in search of better lives. The bulk of these migrants are moving to Mongolia’s three biggest cities – Ulaanbaatar, Erdenet and Darkhan – where they either settle in suburban “ger areas” or peri-urban rangeland areas, often creating informal settlements. Mongolian laws give ger area residents the right to obtain ownership to the land upon which they live. However, the complexity and expense of this process make it difficult to become an owner and thus use the land as a marketable asset.

The Urban Property Rights Project aims to improve the formal system for recognizing and transferring land rights to ger area residents. This effort includes legal and regulatory reform, upgrading the technology necessary for accurate land parcel mapping, and providing direct assistance to households to privatize and register their land plots. The project is being carried out in Ulaanbaatar and eight other regional centers.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Field, Erica et al. 2015. "Urban Property Rights in Mongolia." AEA RCT Registry. March 10.
Former Citation
Field, Erica et al. 2015. "Urban Property Rights in Mongolia." AEA RCT Registry. March 10.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


This evaluation focuses on the land titling component of the project known as the Privatization and Registration of Ger Area Land Plots Activity. This component will provide direct assistance to thousands of households seeking to privatize and register land plots in urban ger areas. A random subset of eligible houses in the area will be randomly chosen to receive door-to-door assistance with the registration process. This assistance will include support for both the necessary paperwork as well as the registration fees.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)

After the program is implemented, the researchers will evaluate its impact on access to credit, investment in land and housing, property values, labor market outcomes and household income using both household level surveys and aggregate institutional data.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study population are residents of untitled land plots in the three largest cities in Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan, and Erdenet. Three large districts of Ulaanbaatar and all areas of Darkhan and Erdenet were included in the study. Randomization was done on the level of neighborhood (known as kheseg in Mongolian) and 1/2 of the neighborhoods of Ulaanbaatar and 2/3 of the neighborhoods of Darhan and Erdenet were randomly chosen to received treatment. Randomization was stratified an administrative unit larger than neighborhood (known as khoroo) and on pre-existing level of titling. In cases where the neighborhood had significantly larger or smaller number of untitled plots, the neighborhood units were either combined or divided to create comparably sized units for randomization.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done on Stata at the office.
Randomization Unit
Randomized unit is the neighborhood.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
527 neighborhoods
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Roughly 282 treatment 245 control. Treatment and control units are not exact as some of the larger neighborhoods were subdivided.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials