Moving Off the Farm: Land Institutions to Facilitate Structural Transformation and Agricultural Productivity Growth in China

30 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Klaus Deininger

Klaus Deininger

World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Songqing Jin

Zhejiang University - China Academy for Rural Development; World Bank

Fang Xia

University of International Business and Economics (UIBE); World Bank

Date Written: January 1, 2012

Abstract

Agriculture has made major contributions to China's economic growth and poverty reduction, but the literature has rarely focused on the institutional factors that might underpin such structural transformation and productivity. This paper aims to fill that gap. Drawing on an 8-year panel of 1,200 households in six key provinces, it explores the impact of government land reallocations and formal land-use certificates on agricultural productivity growth, as well as the likelihood of households to exit from agriculture or send family members to the non-farm sector. It finds that land tenure insecurity, measured by the history of past land reallocations, discourages households from quitting agriculture. The recognition of land rights through formal certificates encourages the temporary migration of rural labor. Both factors have a large impact on productivity (at about 30 percent each), mainly by encouraging market-based land transfers. A sustained increase in non-agricultural opportunities will likely reinforce the importance of secure land tenure, which is a precondition for successful structural transformation and continued economic attractiveness of rural areas.

Keywords: Labor Policies, Rural Development Knowledge & Information Systems, Economic Theory & Research, Economic Growth, Rural Poverty Reduction

Suggested Citation

Deininger, Klaus and Jin, Songqing and Xia, Fang, Moving Off the Farm: Land Institutions to Facilitate Structural Transformation and Agricultural Productivity Growth in China (January 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5949, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1988037

Klaus Deininger (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/kdeininger

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Songqing Jin

Zhejiang University - China Academy for Rural Development ( email )

Qizhen Building, Zijingang Campus,ZJU
Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310058
China

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Fang Xia

University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) ( email )

10, Huixin Dongjie
Changyang District
Beijing, Beijing 100029
China

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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