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Rural Labor Migration and Households’ Land Rental Behavior: Evidence from China
2018-01-12 14:51:00

China & World Economy / 66–85, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2018


Rural Labor Migration and Households’ Land Rental Behavior: Evidence from China

Xianqing Ji, Zhonghao Qian, Linxiu Zhang, Tonglong Zhang*


Abstract

There has been growing debate about whether the changing demographic composition due to rural labor migration could potentially threaten China’s agricultural productivity. The Chinese Government is promoting the “three rights separation system” to consolidate agricultural land through the land rental market with the explicit intention of fostering new agricultural management subjects and improving agricultural productivity. The present paper estimates the effect of rural labor migration on households’ participation in land renting in and renting out activities based on a unique dataset from three rounds of nationally representative surveys. Our results indicate that rural labor migration has a significant negative effect on households renting in land and has a positive effect on households renting out land in rural China. Therefore, the government should adopt targeted policies to effectively encourage farmers with higher agricultural capacity to rent in land to alleviate the negative effect of rural migration on households renting in land. Supporting policies should guarantee that rural migrants enjoy the same welfare services as urban residents.


Key words: agricultural productivity, households’ land rental behavior, rural labor migration, rural–urban China
JEL codes: J21, J22, P25, Q13, Q15