Vietnam's 1993 Land Law was intended not only to increase the security of farmers'usage rights to their land, but also to facilitate land transfers. Despite potential benefits, the actual issuance of land-use rights certificates to farmers (as specified by the law) proceeded rather slowly in some regions. This article seeks to identify factors that explain the emergence of this form of property right as well as to measure its effect on agricultural production. The results suggest that the certificate's direct contribution may be rather small in the absence of the appropriate supporting conditions and institutions. Copyright (c) The Author 2008. Journal compilation (c) 2008 Overseas Development Institute..