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The bittersweet fruits of industrialization in rural China: The cost of environment and the benefit from off-farm employment

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  • Liu, Ying
  • Huang, Jikun
  • Zikhali, Precious

Abstract

While it is widely accepted that industrialization has brought both environmental pollution and economic growth in rural areas of China, very little is known about whether the negative effects of industrial pollution on rural residents have been proportionally offset by positive effects due to improvements in off-farm income. This paper improves our understanding of these tradeoffs by conducting an empirical analysis based on a set of nationwide panel data collected in 2008 and 2012 and covering five provinces, 101 villages, and 2020 households. Evidence is found to suggest that it is not always the case that rural households that are affected by pollution reap the off-farm employment benefits associated with industrialization. Specifically, although industrial pollution incidence is found to be positively related with the level of local off-farm employment, this relationship is statistically insignificant when migrant labor is included. It can be explained as areas that less economically benefited from industrialization tent to have more labors migrated out and the average annual wage income of one migrant labor is much higher than that of local off-farm labor.

Suggested Citation

  • Liu, Ying & Huang, Jikun & Zikhali, Precious, 2016. "The bittersweet fruits of industrialization in rural China: The cost of environment and the benefit from off-farm employment," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1-10.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:38:y:2016:i:c:p:1-10
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2015.11.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:eee:ecolec:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:77-91 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Industrial pollution; Off-farm employment; Rural China;

    JEL classification:

    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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