Chicago’s Best Ideas with Anup Malani: The (Informal) Law and Economics of Slums

Nearly 1 billion people live in urban slums, communities of squatters that have no formal rights to land and live in poor housing. Professor Malani discussed why people live in slums and why cities cannot accommodate them. The talk explored how people locate and build their homes, why cities do not provide them basic services—from water and electricity to police and legal services, and how communities cooperate to fill the gap left by the state. Malani also discussed different "solutions" to slums—including giving residents alternative public housing or land rights to the plots they occupy—and explained why each involves difficult trade-offs.

This Chicago's Best Idea was presented on February 14, 2023.