Land-tenure institutions and agricultural productivity in post-reform China
This dissertation seeks to explain and examine the link between land-tenure institutions and agricultural productivity in China. It offers contributions to two bodies of economic literature. The first is the worldwide literature on land-tenure institutions and agricultural productivity. The second is the literature on agricultural development and food security issues in China. The dissertation is divided into four chapters. The first chapter provides an overview of the historical development of the land-tenure system under the HRS. This chapter also introduces several economic arguments with regard to land tenure, and discusses several possible inefficiencies in China's land-tenure system. The second chapter introduces the unique data set that was used in the empirical studies in the dissertation. The data set is one of the only data sets gathered specifically to study the land-tenure system and agricultural productivity in China. The data includes information from corresponding household and village surveys covering 800 households in 83 villages across 4 provinces of China. Analysis of the data reveals that land-tenure rules display a surprising diversity within China. This finding indicates that local village officials play an important role in setting of local land rights in China, despite clear central government pronouncements promoting stronger household land rights.The third and fourth chapters of the dissertation examine the link between land-tenure institutions and household agricultural production. The chapters adopt a restricted profit-function approach to the study of land tenure institutions. The empirical applications represent the first time that a restricted profit function approach has been applied to the study of certain land-tenure measures, such as land-tenure security and land fragmentation. Both Cobb-Douglas and translog functional forms are estimated, and the results indicate that land-tenure institutions significantly influence agricultural productivity in China. Poor land-tenure security, land fragmentation and small farm size are all shown to reduce household productivity in agriculture.
- Economics