This article examines the relationship of formal and informal land-tenure systems to processes of agrarian change. Although it is often assumed that formal legal recognition of private rights in land can help to transform agriculture, causal links between particular tenure systems and agrarian processes are not easily demonstrated. It is difficult to separate the effects of land tenure from those of a host of other influences on agriculture. A number of studies have pointed to causal relationships among high population density, agricultural intensity, and individualisation of land rights (Podolefsky, 1987). Nevertheless, formal privatisation per se may have relatively little effect on processes of agrarian change, even in an economy where land is productive and scarce and where its distribution is relatively unequal.