Combining Satellite imagery and machine learning to predict economic impact of land registration in Georgia
Property rights are key factor of the economic development. In order to identify the causal effect of land ownership, one should exploit a natural experiment, otherwise it is difficult to exogenously identify the effect, as typically registration decision is not random and there is a potential positive selection bias among registered households. To overcome the identification problem, we study the Systematic Land Registration Pilot Reform (2016-2019) in Georgia. We contribute the literature with the novel way to evaluate such experiment based on high resolution data and machine learning methods. Using remotely sensed daytime satellite images and cadastral maps, we find the positive changes in household welfare which we measure in terms of the quality of rooftops and land use, in a recent free land registration program in rural Georgia.