Reaping What You Sow: Historical Rice Farming and Contemporary Cooperative Behavior in China

60 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2021

See all articles by Suqin Ge

Suqin Ge

Virginia Tech - Department of Economics

Quqiong He

Dongbei University of Finance and Economics; Donbei University of Finance and Economics; Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, Students

Sudipta Sarangi

Virginia Tech

Date Written: September 10, 2021

Abstract

This paper investigates how China’s long tradition of wetland rice farming affects contemporary cooperative behavior. We exploit a discontinuity in rice farming generated by a natural geographic boundary in China and find a significant positive impact on cooperative behavior today. In particular, an increase in the percentage of farmland devoted to rice farming significantly increases the frequency of mutual help in terms of borrowing and lending money, caring for each other's family members, and helping each other with job seeking and house construction. We identify cultural transmission, labor exchange and irrigation networks as the likely driving forces behind this phenomenon.

Keywords: rice farming, cooperative behavior, culture, irrigation, labor exchange, China

JEL Classification: D90, N55, Z10

Suggested Citation

Ge, Suqin and He, Quqiong and Sarangi, Sudipta, Reaping What You Sow: Historical Rice Farming and Contemporary Cooperative Behavior in China (September 10, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3921875 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3921875

Suqin Ge (Contact Author)

Virginia Tech - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

Quqiong He

Dongbei University of Finance and Economics ( email )

Dalian
China

Donbei University of Finance and Economics ( email )

217 Jianshan St,
Shahekou
Dalian, Liaoning
China

Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, Students ( email )

217 Jianshan Street
Dalian
China

Sudipta Sarangi

Virginia Tech ( email )

250 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

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