The development of a cadastral system from a policy reform perspective: the case of the Hellenic Cadastre

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In the mid-’90s, Greece initiated an ambitious national scale cadastral mapping program to establish the Hellenic Cadastre System (HCS), aiming to replace its predominant land registry system, the Registrations and Mortgages System (RMS). Τhe paper explores the case of the development of the HCS to replace the RMS through the lens of public policy reform. The questions we ask are: “1. what were the idea and the initial design for the development of the HCS; and 2. how does the development of the HCS stand within Greece’s existing land registry policy domain from a policy reform perspective”. Public policy reforms are deliberate government efforts to effect change in a policy domain and deliver public goods to citizens. Three different orders of change can be distinguished in a reform process, according to (Tsoukas 2012). The first order of change involves adopting technical measures to improve current organizational practices that forestall a system from being effective. The second order of change commonly refers to an organizational transformation that alters an organization’s “governing values” to improve a collective good's delivery. Last, the third order of change is the policy reform that alters a policy domain's foundational rules as part of a broader political endeavor to modernize a country's institutions. Ideally, the three types of change should be nested in ascending order, starting with the more localized and technical first-order changes before progressing to second and third-order changes.
The study is informed by in-depth open interviews with government officials and professionals from Greece's land registry policy domain. Secondary data used for analysis consist of legislative documents from 1834-1998, such as Laws and their Justificatory Reports, Presidential Decrees, Ministerial Decisions, Circulars, Public consultation notes, parliamentary minutes, press releases, newspaper articles, studies, and reports. Findings show a lack of an incremental approach in the long-established land registry policy domain in Greece: through the initiation of the HCS, a paradigmatic change was prioritized. The movement from one paradigm (deed and paper-based registry system) to another paradigm (property-based digital cadastral system) redefines the country’s land registry policy domain. A paradigmatic policy change is often accumulated with anomalies (Hall, 1993), and it is uncertain whether it can be effective (Tsoukas 2012, Hall, 1993). The case of the HCS constitutes a rich setting and a promising context for the empirical study of large-scale change for the development of a new land registry system contributing to the relevant scholarly literature of land administration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2021
EventFIG e-Working Week 2021: Challenges in a new reality - Virtual Event
Duration: 20 Jun 202125 Jun 2021


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