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Abstract If land is titled and transferable, it can be used as collateral against which money can be borrowed. The resulting increase in access to credit is usually expected to foster economic growth. This article focuses on a policy in colonial India that made land less available as collateral for debt. Using a panel dataset for Punjab districts from 1890 to 1910, the findings show that this reduced the availability of mortgage-backed credit, but did not hurt proxies for economic development, such as acreage and cattle, at least in the short run.