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Environmental Stress and Grain Yields in China


  • Jikun Huang
  • Scott Rozelle


After 1984 China's grain production began to stagnate, slowing during a time of continuing expansion of chemical inputs, irrigated area, and high-yielding rice, wheat, and maize varieties. In this paper we explore the hypothesis that the accumulation of environmental pressures, including erosion, salinization, soil exhaustion, and degradation of the local environment, may be partially responsible for the recent slowdown of grain yields. Using provincial production data from 1975 to 1990, the analysis shows that environmental factors, especially the breakdown of the environment, did contribute to the decline in the rate of increase of yields in China during the late 1980s. Erosion and salinization had a small, negative effect on yields.

Suggested Citation

  • Jikun Huang & Scott Rozelle, 1995. "Environmental Stress and Grain Yields in China," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 77(4), pages 853-864.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:77:y:1995:i:4:p:853-864.

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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Xiaobing & Yu, Xiaohua, 2011. "Scale Effects, Technical Efficiency and Land Lease in China," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 115736, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Linlin Xiao & Xiaohuan Yang & Hongyan Cai & Dingxiang Zhang, 2015. "Cultivated Land Changes and Agricultural Potential Productivity in Mainland China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(9), pages 1-16, August.
    3. Tong, Haizhi, 2002. "Chinese Regional Agricultural Productivity In The 1990'S," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19804, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    4. You, Liangzhi & Spoor, Max & Ulimwengu, John & Zhang, Shemei, 2011. "Land use change and environmental stress of wheat, rice and corn production in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 461-473.
    5. Ping Zong & John Davis, 1998. "Off‐Farm Employment and Grain Marketable Surplus in China," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 346-358, September.
    6. Chen, Ming & Karp, Larry S., 2001. "Environmental Indices for the Chinese Grain Sector," CUDARE Working Papers 6259, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    7. van Tongeren, Frank W. & Huang, Jikun, 2004. "China'S Food Economy In The Early 21st Century; Development Of China'S Food Economy And Its Impact On Global Trade And On The Eu," Report Series 29093, Wageningen University and Research Center, Agricultural Economics Research Institute.
    8. Wang, Xiaobing, 2007. "Labor market behavior of Chinese rural households during transition," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 42, number 92321, 09-2019.
    9. Heidi J. Albers & Scott D. Rozelle & Li Guo, 1998. "China'S Forests Under Economic Reform: Timber Supplies, Environmental Protection, And Rural Resource Access," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(1), pages 22-33, January.
    10. L. Sun & X. Li, 1997. "Driving Forces of Arable Land Conversion in China," Working Papers ir97076, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    11. Zhang, Yanjie & Wang, Xiaobing, 2009. "Land Reallocation and Its Impacts on Technical Efficiency --Evidence from China’s Agricultural Production," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51954, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    12. Avraham Ebenstein & Jian Zhang & Margaret S. McMillan & Kevin Chen, 2011. "Chemical Fertilizer and Migration in China," NBER Working Papers 17245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Haizhi Tong & Lilyan E. Fulginiti, 2005. "Chinese Regional Agricultural Productivity in the 1990'a," Others 0502012, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Liu, Yunhua & Wang, Xiaobing, 2005. "Technological progress and Chinese agricultural growth in the 1990s," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 419-440.
    15. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:86:y:2019:i:c:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Zhao, Naizhuo & Currit, Nate & Samson, Eric, 2011. "Net primary production and gross domestic product in China derived from satellite imagery," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 921-928, March.

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