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China's collectivisation puzzle: A new resolution

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  • James Kung
  • Louis Putterman

Abstract

According to total factor productivity trends in Chinese agriculture, China achieved productivity gains both when collectivising (1954-58) and when decollectivising (1979-84) its agriculture. If the productivity gains from decollectivisation were due mainly to eliminating the incentive problems of collective farms, how the initial collectivisation could also have been associated with gains in productivity presents a major historical puzzle. We suggest as an answer the possibility that agricultural production in China was widely organised on a household basis until 1958, despite the collectivisation of property rights, and that the formation of the agricultural producers' co-operatives reduced the inefficiencies in factor allocation that existed following China's land reform.

Suggested Citation

  • James Kung & Louis Putterman, 1997. "China's collectivisation puzzle: A new resolution," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(6), pages 741-763.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:33:y:1997:i:6:p:741-763
    DOI: 10.1080/00220389708422494
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    Cited by:

    1. Shengmin Sun & Qiang Chen, 2014. "Measuring the Effects of Decollectivization on China's Agricultural Growth: A Panel GMM Approach, 1970-1987," SDU Working Papers 2014-05, School of Economics, Shandong University.
    2. Bai, Ying & Kung, James Kai-sing, 2014. "The shaping of an institutional choice: Weather shocks, the Great Leap Famine, and agricultural decollectivization in China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 1-26.
    3. Dennis Tao Yang, 2007. "China's Agricultural Crisis and Famine of 1959-61: A Survey and Comparison to Soviet Famines," Working Papers e07-4, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.

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