The Effects of Emergency Housing on Wellbeing: Evidence from Argentina’s Informal Settlements

  • Ann MitchellEmail author
  • Jimena Macció
  • Diego Mariño Fages
Original Article


The aim of this paper is to present evidence on the effects on wellbeing of providing a basic dwelling on-site to households living in situations of extreme poverty in urban slums. In particular, the paper evaluates the impact of the NGO TECHO’s emergency housing programme in informal settlements of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Using a quasi-experimental pipeline approach, the paper shows that the programme has a large effect on privacy, security, interpersonal relations, psychological wellbeing and perception of quality of life. Regarding health, the program only produces a reduction in the prevalence of cough and congestion. While indicators of sleep quality improve, the effects are not statistically significant after adjusting for multiple hypothesis testing. Additionally, the programme increases the likelihood that households with school age children have a tranquil place to study, evidence that the programme could broaden children’s long-term opportunities.


Housing Urban Slums Impact evaluation Latin America 


Le but de cet article est d’analyser les effets sur le bien-être des personnes d’un programme de construction de logements de base pour des familles qui vivent en situations d'extrême pauvreté dans les bidonvilles. L’article évalue en particulier l’impact du programme de logements d’urgence de l’ONG TECHO dans les quartiers informels de Buenos Aires en Argentine. En utilisant une approche de pipeline quasi expérimentale, l’article montre que le programme a un effet important sur le privé, la sécurité, les relations interpersonnelles, le bien-être psychologique et la perception de la qualité de vie. En ce qui concerne la santé, le programme ne fait que réduire la prévalence de la toux et de la congestion. Bien que les indicateurs de la qualité du sommeil s'améliorent, les effets ne sont pas statistiquement significatifs après ajustement pour les tests d'hypothèses multiples. De plus, le programme augmente la probabilité que les familles avec des enfants d’âge scolaire aient un endroit tranquille pour étudier, preuve que le programme pourrait élargir les possibilités à long terme des enfants.



The authors would like to thank the following people for their valuable comments: María Laura Alzua, Roger Betancourt, James Copestake, Osvaldo Feinstein, Cythia Goytia, Patricio Millán, Ricardo Perez Truglia, Mariano Rabassa and two anonymous referees. We also thank Paula Araujo for providing excellent research assistance.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann Mitchell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jimena Macció
    • 1
  • Diego Mariño Fages
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsPontificia Universidad Católica ArgentinaCiudad de Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversidad de San AndresVictoria, Pcia de Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversidad Nacional del NordesteResistenciaArgentina

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