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FRDB Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti

Labor market and property rights: a randomized experiment among the homeless

Feasibility study

16 May 2012


The project "Labor market and property rights: a randomized experiment among the homeless",  by Michela Braga (University of Milan and fRDB Affiliate) and Lucia Corno (University College of London and fRDB Affiliate), aims at implement randomized interventions (with treatment and control group)  for the homeless people in Milan.


A first feasibility study tested the hypothesis to provide lockers to the homeless where they can store their personal belongings and investigates any changes in their labor market attitudes.  


The idea below the intervention is that obtaining property rights might significantly reduce the time devoted to preserve and protect their assets and consequently increase the number of hours devoted to productive activities. Such an effect may be particularly significant in the case of the homeless. Indeed, this specific population does not have any property rights or, at least, is unable to effectively exercise those rights.


Clearly, this project implies considerable design complexity and high organizational effort. For this reason, in 2011, Michela Braga and Lucia Corno carried out a feasibility study, funded by the Fondazione Cariplo.


In particular, the objectives of the feasibility study were the following:


  1. Definition of control and treatment groups;
  2. Definition of the reference group and the sample size;
  3. Definition of the outcomes to be evaluated and their measurement methods;
  4. Definition of the network of potential partner organizations;
  5. Estimated cost of the intervention.


For further information on the project, you may contact Michela Braga ( or Lucia Corno (