Summary. — Research into the political economy of agrarian change was undertaken in 1974–75 in West-Central Nepal, as part of a wider study of the effects of road construction in the region. The field research centered on a comprehensive income and expenditure survey of 667 rural households. An explanatory framework was developed in which class analysis was combined with dependency theory. Few signs were found of a dynamic which might lead to capitalist development in the rural (or urban areas) of the region. In a book, Nepal in Crisis, based on this fieldwork, this analysis was generalized to Nepal as a whole. A re-survey of rural households in the same region in 1997–98 confirmed that, indeed, very little capitalist development had taken place, and that the disposition of rural households within the social classes and forms of production identified 20 years before had remained remarkably stable. The paper examines the significance of continuity and change both in theoretical approaches and in the dynamics of change affecting the lives of local people.