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A Counterfactual Analysis on Unlimited Surplus Labor in Rural China

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  • Fang Cai
  • Meiyan Wang

Abstract

Using a counterfactual analysis approach, the present paper examines a host of conventional wisdoms relating to issues of farmer, the countryside and agriculture, which are believed to be all originated from the existence of mass surplus laborers in China. When analyzing various sources of statistics, evidence shows that there is no longer a large pool of surplus laborers in rural China as most people believe. Based on this counterfactual result, all related events, such as the direction of agricultural technological changes, the level of comparative productivity of agricultural labor, and the degree of rural-urban income gap must be reconsidered. Copyright (c) 2008 The Authors.Journal compilation (c) 2008 Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Suggested Citation

  • Fang Cai & Meiyan Wang, 2008. "A Counterfactual Analysis on Unlimited Surplus Labor in Rural China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 16(1), pages 51-65.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:chinae:v:16:y:2008:i:1:p:51-65
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    Cited by:

    1. Huanxiu Guo & Sébastien Marchand, 2013. "Is participatory social learning a performance driver for Chinese smallholder farmers?," Working Papers halshs-00878886, HAL.
    2. Tomoyuki Fukumoto & Ichiro Muto, 2012. "Rebalancing China's Economic Growth: Some Insights from Japan's Experience," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 20(1), pages 62-82, January.
    3. Chen, Qin & Song, Zheng, 2014. "Accounting for China's urbanization," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 485-494.
    4. Shang-Jin Wei & Zhuan Xie & Xiaobo Zhang, 2017. "From "Made in China" to "Innovated in China": Necessity, Prospect, and Challenges," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 49-70, Winter.
    5. Huanxiu GUO & Mary-Françoise RENARD, 2013. "Social activity and collective action for agricultural innovation: a case study of New Rural Reconstruction in China," Working Papers 201306, CERDI.
    6. Dorrucci, Ettore & Pula, Gabor & Santabárbara, Daniel, 2013. "China's economic growth and rebalancing," Occasional Paper Series 142, European Central Bank.
    7. Cai, Fang & Wang, Meiyan, 2010. "Growth and structural changes in employment in transition China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 71-81, March.
    8. Mary-Françoise Renard & Huanxiu Guo, 2013. "Social activity and collective action for agricultural innovation: a case study of New Rural Reconstruction in China," Working Papers halshs-00802119, HAL.

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