Discussion Papers

No.633 Development of Off-farm Employment and its Determinants in Rural China

by HOKEN Hisatoshi

March 2017


This study investigates the long-term trends of labor allocation in rural households of China from the late 1980s until the mid-2010s, and examines the determinants of their off-farm employment in 2002 and 2013 using the nationally representative household survey (CHIP). The estimated results indicate that working status of whether a person is employed showed the coefficients on age and education have an inverse-U-shaped relationship with employment probability for both years. The estimated results of the Tobit model of off-farm workdays as a percentage share of total workdays show that female labor was more strongly influenced by household characteristics and political networks than male labor in 2002, but no clear gender gaps were observed in 2013. This appears mainly due to the relative scarcity of off-farm employment in the early 2000s; therefore, women tended to take charge of domestic work such as child care and agricultural production. With the increase of off-farm work and the liberalization of grain marketing, the division of labor between genders has become less apparent.

Keywords: rural inequality, labor allocation, China, off-farm work
JEL classification: J22, J71, N35, O15

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