This study examines the intergenerational effects of providing land to the rural poor. I use ID numbers to track applicants to the 1968 Colombian agrarian reform and their children in various administrative data. Exploiting discontinuities in the allocation of parcels, I find that the children of recipients exhibit higher intergenerational mobility. In contrast to the view that land would tie them to the countryside, today these children participate more in the modern economy. They have better living standards and are more likely to work in formal and high-skilled sectors. These findings appear driven by a relief of credit constraints that allowed recipient families to migrate to urban centers and invest in the education of their children.
This paper investigates the persistent effects of the colonial state (or Real Audiencia) in Mexico. In regions further away from its control, Spanish settlers faced weaker accountability to coerce native populations and extract natural resources. Using a spatial regression discontinuity design, I document that regions with weaker colonial state presence exhibit lower historical and contemporary economic prosperity. After Independence, suggestive evidence indicates conflicts were more prevalent in these regions as the state struggled to monopolize violence. Meanwhile, communities (or pueblos) developed norms of parochial cooperation - higher in-group cooperation but lower trust towards the state. I argue this environment weakened property rights in the long-run.