The module 4 Corresponds to impacts on beneficiary households where LAPs seek security and legal certainty about land ownership.

Module 4: Household Livelihoods

Methodological guide to impact evaluation at household level

This section is designed as a supplement to the section Conceptual framework at household level. It aims to support the M&E processes of LAP impacts on households that have benefited from a transparent, efficient, decentralized LAS, which is reflected above all in an increase in legal certainty and security of tenure. This guide presents the main concepts and methodological procedures of LAP impact evaluation at household level in relation to these two outcomes and the associated impacts (see impacts and results chain at household level).

A global evaluation system includes the supervision and evaluation of processes, cost-benefit analyses and impacts. In other words, impact evaluation “aims to determine more generally whether the programme has produced the desired effects on persons, households and institutions and whether these effects are attributable to the programme’s intervention”1 (see the definition of M&E). Questions asked in an impact evaluation include: How did the project affect beneficiaries? To what extent were the improvements the direct result of the project or would they have occurred without it? How could the programme design be altered to improve its effects? Did the impacts of the project justify the costs of setting it up?2

See the fact sheet for designing and processing household surveys for practical advice on constructing questionnaires targeted at evaluation.

Evaluating the impacts of security and legal certainty of tenure

The increase in legal certainty and security of tenure can, through the regularization, clearing and titling (RCT) processes of LAPs, have many positive impacts on household livelihoods. The results of LAPs should therefore firstly be examined in relation to these two objectives, and this can be done in two different ways:

  1. Using the information already available to LAIs. This method involves using databases from cadastral surveying and from monitoring systems of regularization, clearing and titling (RCT) processes to evaluate progress in processes to strengthen tenure rights in project implementation areas (see Fact sheet on evaluation of regularization, clearing and titling processes).
  2. Generating the information necessary for evaluation. This involves carrying out a survey with beneficiary households and control groups and conducting interviews or focus groups to determine the perception of beneficiaries in relation to security of tenure and its possible effects. As explained in the conceptual framework of this module, this tools considers that security of tenure is associated with its perception by beneficiaries of LAPs. Consequently, this perception is essential and also supplements the quantitative information provided by LAIs (number of titles or other types of legal or administrative documents issued).

In other words, security of tenure can increase as households perceive ownership or possession documents issued by LAIs to be valid and old disputes to be resolved. This will have positive effects on household strategies in the management of resources and investment, resulting in greater wellbeing and an increase in household income. Security of tenure will similarly facilitate the use of ownership or possession documents as collateral or a guarantee to access credit or other services. In view of the above, an index of the perception of security of tenure has been created based on three questions aimed at the beneficiaries and control groups chosen for the evaluation:

  • The reduction in disputes related to boundary claims.
  • The security that no one can claim ownership or possession rights to the property.
  • The use of titles or other types of documents to gain access to financial or other services.

For the analysis of the results, an index should be generated from these questions which will be used to compare the situation with and without the project or through a counterfactual scenario, such as a control group (see the choice of the most suitable model for the evaluation).

Causal operational logic for the evaluation

Causal operational logic involves identifying the intermediaries existing between the various levels in the results and impacts chain at household level, with the aim of translating these into indicators to evaluate and monitor projects.

Evaluating the impact of a program involves moving from causal relations defined at a high level of abstraction (characterizing definitions) to operational definitions3. In other words, the aim is to establish the specific (operational) processes needed to translate these cause-effect relations into questions for the questionnaires that will be answered by beneficiaries.

The cause and effect chain and its intermediaries

The cause and effect chain and its intermediaries

Source: Authors

In this case, legal certainty and security of tenancy is shown to allow households to generate greater income and a higher level of food security, as it encourages change of land use, access to government programmes and credit, factors that lead to higher investment in the parcel and/or housing. As observed, however, this cause-effect relation is not linear. For a household to be able to effectively increase its income and level of food security, it will have to direct investment towards a higher value economic activity and/or implement technological changes that will increase production and reduce costs. If these changes are reflected in increased sales and/or productivity, only then could we observe greater incomes and food security for households.

To be able to evaluate the achievement of effects related to legal certainty and security of tenure, it is proposed to measure the following specifically and as a priority:

A. Increase in access to services, programmes and finance.
B. Changes in land use (involves a change in production).
C. Increase in work surface area
D. Investment (in production and housing, considering the latter only as an increase in family capital).
E. Reduction in costs and expenses.
F. Increase in sales.

It important to bear in mind that these impacts may be reflected at different times; access to government programmes may thus have an effect in the short term, while an increase in investment may occur in the medium term and result in increased income in the long term.


1 Banco Mundial (2007).
2 Baker, J. (2000).
3 Sartori & al. (2012).