Diagnostic and Design for Simplification of Land Administration in Bangladesh

This project, undertaken for the Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund of the International Finance Corporation, focused on issues with registration of property rights and transactions that are leading to increased informality in land markets and popular dissatisfaction with government services. A premise of the investigation, borne out in the study, was that institutional failures, high registration and transaction fees and taxes and frequent demands for informal payments from the bureaucracy were leading to excessive transaction times and costs for businesses and citizens. High transaction costs in turn led people to avoid land registration, thereby further undermining the 100 year old registration system. NORC assembled a team of international land administration consultants to conduct a study of the regulatory systems governing real property rights and transactions. Researchers used in-depth interviews with government officials; a paper and pencil, face to face survey with system users and stakeholders, including lawyers, bankers, land developers and registration facilitators (“deed writers”); a detailed mapping of institutional capabilities and procedures; and 14 focus group discussions with citizens, businesses and officials to uncover the problems with the system that lead to informality in property markets. The project resulted in a focused series of recommendations for administrative reform that are being pursued now, along with a stakeholder analysis and communications strategy to implement the reforms based on stakeholder needs and perceptions uncovered in the research.  Working with its local partner, Uniconsult International Ltd, NORC designed the survey instruments, prepared a sampling strategy, constructed a sample frame, selected the sample, trained and fielded survey teams, organized and conducted focus group discussions, cleaned, organized and analyzed the data, and prepared the analytical report.