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Chinese Peasant Choices: Migration, Rural Industry or Farming

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  • John Knight
  • Lina Song

Abstract

A nationally representative rural labour force survey of China is analysed to explore the allocation of labour among farming, local non-farming and temporary migration activities. Various tests of labour market segmentation are conducted. The estimated returns to labour off the farm greatly exceed those on the farm. The personal and household determinants of activities, and of days worked in them, are examined for demand or supply constraints on employment; some results are consistent with the former. The relationship between days worked off and on the farm suggests that the opportunity cost to households of non-farm work is very low. The evidence is consistent with there being rationing of non-farm employment. However, tastes, imperfect information, imperfect capital markets, risk-aversion and transaction costs are also relevant. The overcoming of the obstacles to diversification away from farming is important for rural development in China.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Oxford Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 31 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 123-148

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Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:31:y:2003:i:2:p:123-148

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Cited by:
  1. Chad Meyerhoefer & C. Chen, 2011. "The effect of parental labor migration on children’s educational progress in rural china," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 379-396, September.
  2. Long, Wenjin & Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina, 2013. "Job Contact Networks and Wages of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," IZA Discussion Papers 7577, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. John Knight & Linda Yueh, 2004. "Urban Insiders versus Rural Outsiders: Complementarity or Competition in China`s Urban Labour Market?," Economics Series Working Papers 217, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Chloé DUVIVIER & Mary-Françoise RENARD & Shi LI, 2012. "Are workers close to cities paid higher non-agricultural wages in rural China?," Working Papers 201205, CERDI.
  5. McGuire, William & Fleisher, Belton & Sheldon, Ian M., 2007. "Off-Farm Employment Opportunities and Educational Attainment in Rural China," China's Agricultural Trade: Issues and Prospects Symposium, July 2007, Beijing, China 55029, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  6. Nishida, Keigo, 2012. "Agricultural Productivity Differences and Credit Market Imperfections," MPRA Paper 38962, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Junichi Ito, 2008. "The removal of institutional impediments to migration and its impact on employment, production and income distribution in China," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 239-265, September.
  8. Vendryes, Thomas, 2011. "Migration constraints and development: Hukou and capital accumulation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 669-692.
  9. Avato, Johanna, 2009. "Migration pressures and immigration policies : new evidence on the selection of migrants," Social Protection Discussion Papers 52449, The World Bank.
  10. Zeng, Douglas Zhihua, 2005. "China's employment challenges and strategies after the WTO accession," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3522, The World Bank.
  11. Xiaoyun Liu & Terry Sicular, 2008. "Non-agricultural Employment Determinants and Income Inequality Decomposition," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20086, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
  12. Glauben, Thomas & Herzfeld, Thomas & Rozelle, Scott & Wang, Xiaobing, 2012. "Persistent Poverty in Rural China: Where, Why, and How to Escape?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 784-795.
  13. Chang, Hongqin & Dong, Xiao-yuan & MacPhail, Fiona, 2011. "Labor Migration and Time Use Patterns of the Left-behind Children and Elderly in Rural China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 2199-2210.
  14. Du, Yang & Park, Albert & Wang, Sangui, 2005. "Migration and rural poverty in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 688-709, December.
  15. Bowlus, Audra J. & Sicular, Terry, 2003. "Moving toward markets? Labor allocation in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 561-583, August.

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