This article discusses the World Bank's efforts to reform land and real estate markets. It argues that World Bank supported efforts at land and real estate reform have had too narrow a technical focus, at the expense of institutional reform. The article finds that:some efforts emphasize one set of reforms (such as mortgage finance) while ignoring others essential to those reforms (such as clear property rights and land registration)some efforts emphasize one sector (such as urban land) while ignoring its interaction with another (rural land conversion)to be successful, reforms need to be comprehensive in design, even if implementation is phased over timeReforms should include the following three elements:institutional reforms that better define property rights, reduce information asymmetry, and improve contract enforcementcapital market reforms that make mortgage finance available at reasonable rates, especially for the poormarket reforms that reduce or eliminate the main distortions in the prices of goods and services produced by land and real estate assets
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