The Developing Economies

Volume 38, Number 1 (March 2000)

■ The Developing Economies Volume 38, Number 1 (March 2000)
■ B5
■ 105pp
■ March 2000

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Marketization on the Chinese Rural Economy and Changes in the Economic Behavior of Farmers

Introduction (28KB) / Hiromi Yamamoto

Rural-Urban Migration and Labor Markets in China: A Case Study in a Northeastern Province (74KB) / Wang Tianhong, Atsushi Maruyama, and Masao Kikuchi


Hiromi Yamamoto,"Marketization of the Chinese Economy and Reform of the Grain Distribution System," pp. 11-50.

This paper analyzes the relationship between economic liberalization and the reform of the grain distribution system, and the relationship between economic liberalization and the terms of trade between agricultural and industrial goods in China. It shows that the present reform of the grain distribution system represents a shift from directly controlled to indirectly controlled management. Given the differentials between domestic and international prices, price increases under the government's grain price policy have reached a ceiling. With its admittance into the WTO in the near future and the opening of its market for agricultural products, China will have to improve agricultural productivity by undertaking structural adjustment reforms.

Toshiyuki Kako and Jianping Zhang,"Problems concerning Grain Production and Distribution in China: The Case of Heilongjiang Province," pp. 51-79.

Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China has been blessed with ample agricultural resources and thus serves as one of the most important food supply bases in China. The growth in grain production there over the last twenty years has been remarkable and has contributed greatly to improvement in the nationwide food supply. Rice production has shown the fastest growth among all the grains, due to rapid technological change and expansion of rice planted area. Technology transfer of the dry field seedling transplantation method from Japan has helped most to stabilize and increase Heilongjiang's rice yield and expand rice planted area northward, by overcoming such disadvantageous conditions as cold weather and short frost-free seasons. Agricultural measures, such as extending farmland lease contract durations, establishing a more rational agricultural financial system, building cooperative sales organizations, and promoting upstream and downstream industries, are necessary for the agricultural development of Heilongjiang Province in the future.

Wang Tianhong, Atsushi Maruyama, and Masao Kikuchi,"Rural-Urban Migration and Labor Markets in China: A Case Study in a Northeastern Province," pp. 80-104.

Rural-urban labor migration in Heilongjiang Province is examined based on data collected from micro-level surveys which show that the degree of rural-urban migration has been considerable. Most of rural-urban migrants find jobs in the urban informal sector and the overwhelming majority of workers in this sector are immigrants from rural villages in the province. Rural immigrants are also found in the blue-collar labor markets of the urban formal sector. These urban labor markets are characterized by no or low entry barriers. Comparison of the daily wage/earnings among various labor markets along the rural-urban continuum indicates that significant wage differentials between the rural and urban labor markets induces large rural-urban migration. It also supports the hypothesis that the urban labor markets, excluding the labor market for white-collar jobs, are integrated into a single well functioning labor market linked together with the rural labor markets.

Peter Wilson,"The Dilemma of a More Advanced Developing Country: Conflicting Views on the Development Strategy of Singapore," pp. 105-34.


This paper considers why Singapore appears to be reluctant to accept reclassification as a fully developed country. The country's development record since the mid-1960s is examined from a number of perspectives including aggregate measures of income per head, structural change, changes in welfare, and comparative rankings using noneconomic criteria. Although Singapore is not easy to classify in the development spectrum, there seems to be little reason to delay reclassification unless noneconomic criteria are deemed paramount. This paper also asks whether there is any substance to the argument that Singapore has special problems of a more dynamic nature which might justify its present status as a developing country or"more advanced developing country." Whilst conventional arguments that it"lacks the depth and breadth of fully developed economies," or is not competitive enough, do uncover some special features of the Singapore economy, these are not persuasive enough to disqualify it from graduation.