Sharecropping typically involves a relatively richer owner of the land and a poorer agricultural worker or farmer; although the reverse relationship, in which a poor landlord leases out to a rich tenant also exists.
The typical form of sharecropping is generally seen as exploitative, particularly with large holdings of land where there is evident disparity of wealth between the parties.
Types of tenant farming include sharecropping, some forms of peonage, and Mйtayage.
Sharecropping agreements can be made mutually beneficial, as a form of tenant farming or "sharefarming" that has a variable rental payment, paid in arrears.
Sharecropping can have more than a passing similarity to serfdom or indenture and it has therefore been seen as an issue of land reform in contexts such as the Mexican Revolution.
The advantages of sharecropping include enabling access for women to arable land where ownership rights are vested only in men.
The Metayage system (French mйtayage) is the cultivation of land for a proprietor by one who receives a proportion of the produce, as a kind of sharecropping.