Are “traditional” or “indigenous” land rights an obstacle to development? The question seems simple enough. And the liberal economic perspective currently being advanced by free market advocates such as the Bretton Woods institutions answers: yes, to the extent that those traditional relations hinder the free exchange of land, they do slow development. But of course the question is more complex and requires answers to a number of subsidiary and ancillary questions. Some are definitional and empirical: what are these “traditional land rights”? To what extent do they, rather than codified law or administrative practices, define the relationships of social actors and groups to land and to each other through land? Other questions are more hypothetical: what are the alternatives to the current regime, what costs would installing them incur, and what would be their costs and benefits, once in place? Finally, there are ancillary, but still central questions: what other factors, such as ecological conditions, state policies and non-state institutions, may account for development or the lack thereof, apart from land tenure regimes?