The profitability of subsurface drainage on imperfectly as well as on poorly drained operator owned and rented land in southwestern Ontario was investigated. The return on drainage investment was more than twice as high for owner operators as for owner nonoperators. The return on drainage investment for owners letting their land was relatively low, thus providing little or no incentive to drain. Tenants are also disinclined to drain because of great insecurity of tenure. Under reasonable price scenarios the return for owner operators is sufficient to induce them to invest in drainage. The different incentive structures lead to great differences in land improvement between operator owned and rented land. The drainage condition on operator owned land is considerably better than that on rented land.