Evolving Practice in Land Demarcation

Abstract

This paper analyzes social choice with respect to the demarcation of land boundaries, distinguishing between physical and legal demarcation. In contrast with the influential “land administration” literature and the World Bank’s policy guidelines, the analysis supports voluntary—instead of mandatory—demarcation as well as non-integrated services for land administration. Consistent with these theoretical arguments, the paper empirically verifies that demarcation conflicts play a lesser role in title-, land- and property-related litigation, which seems to increase in all these areas after physical demarcation is made mandatory. Relying on World Bank data, it also observes that linking and merging cadastres and land registries does not correlate with lower transaction costs.