SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Christopher Littleboy

BMus Music (King's College London, MSc Research for International Development (SOAS)
  • Research


Chris Littleboy
Christopher Littleboy
Email address:
Thesis title:
Customary tenure and tenure reform in Nigeria
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


I am in my final year of my PhD in Development Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. My supervisor is Professor Mushtaq Khan, and my specific topic is land tenure reform in rural areas of Nigeria.

Before starting my PhD, I worked briefly as a civil servant at HM Treasury in the UK. My two hobbies are jazz piano (unfortunately this is more listening than playing at the moment) and hill walking (I'm trying to bag all of the Munros of Scotland).

PhD Research

In most of sub-Saharan Africa land is governed by the rules of the community rather than the laws of the state. Many governments are pursuing tenure reform to introduce modern systems of land governance, with the ultimate aim of improving agricultural productivity and food security. My research looks at this transition: what tenure institutions exist today, how does this impact agricultural productivity, and how feasible is tenure reform in different contexts?

My research is based on the Nigerian experience of land institutions. Half of my PhD is a quantitative assessment of the Evolutionary Theory of Land Rights in the context of Nigeria, and the other half assesses tenure reform policy of Systematic Land Titling and Registration in Nigeria, following fieldwork in Ondo State.


  • Land and Poverty: (Washington DC, March 2020)
  • Shifting Landscapes (London, May 2020)


Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE): SOAS


  • Property rights
  • Food security
  • Tenure reform
  • Agricultural productivity
  • Land cover
  • Remote sensing
  • Microeconometrics
  • Data collection
  • Data science