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Development of Land Rental Market and its Effect on Household Farming in Rural China: An Empirical Study in Zhejiang Province

Discussion Papers


February 2012 (Revised March 2012)


This paper investigates the impact of land rental market development on the efficiency of labor allocation and land utilization in rural China. To test the hypothesis that the shadow wage of a rent-in household with limited off-farm opportunities will increase with the development of a land rental market for households, a statistical comparison between the shadow wage and the estimated market wage was conducted. The results showed that the shadow wage for both rent-in households and non-rent-in households was significantly lower than the market wage, but that the wage for the rent-in households was statistically higher than that for non-rent-in households in Fenghua and Deqing, the two counties surveyed in this study. In addition, the estimated marginal product of farmland for rent-in households was statistically higher than the actual land rent that those households paid, while a null hypothesis that the actual rental fee accepted by rent-out households is equivalent to the marginal product of farmland for those households was not rejected in Fenghua county where land transactions by mutual agreement were more prevalent. These results indicate that the development of the land rental market facilitates the efficiency of labor allocation and farmland utilization in rural China.

Keywords: Land Rental Market, Agricultural Production Function, Household Model
JEL classification: J22, O13, Q12, Q15

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