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Chinese Peasant Choices: Migration, Rural Industry or Farming

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • John Knight & Lina Song, 2003. "Chinese Peasant Choices: Migration, Rural Industry or Farming," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 123-148.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:31:y:2003:i:2:p:123-148
    DOI: 10.1080/13600810307427
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Allan N. Rae & Xiaohui Zhang, 2009. "China's booming livestock industry: household income, specialization, and exit," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(6), pages 603-616, November.
    2. Xiaoyun Liu & Terry Sicular, 2009. "Nonagricultural Employment Determinants and Income Inequality Decomposition," Chinese Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 29-43, July.
    3. C. Duvivier & S. Li & M.-F. Renard, 2013. "Are workers close to cities paid higher nonagricultural wages in rural China?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(30), pages 4308-4322, October.
    4. Giles, John, 2006. "Is life more risky in the open? Household risk-coping and the opening of China's labor markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 25-60, October.
    5. Chloé Duvivier, 2013. "Does Urban Proximity Enhance Technical Efficiency? Evidence From Chinese Agriculture," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 923-943, December.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Zeng, Douglas Zhihua, 2005. "China's employment challenges and strategies after the WTO accession," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3522, The World Bank.
    9. Keigo Nishida, 2014. "Agricultural productivity differences and credit market imperfections," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(8), pages 1262-1276, December.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Ding, Sai & Dong, Xiao-Yuan & Maurer-Fazio, Margaret, 2016. "How Do Pre-School and/or School-Age Children Affect Parents' Likelihood of Migration and Off-Farm Work in Rural China's Minority Regions?," IZA Discussion Papers 10073, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. 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.
    16. repec:bla:presci:v:95:y:2016:i:4:p:709-731 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. 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).
    18. repec:eee:chieco:v:46:y:2017:i:s:p:s77-s101 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. 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.
    20. Vendryes, Thomas, 2011. "Migration constraints and development: Hukou and capital accumulation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 669-692.
    21. Avato, Johanna, 2009. "Migration pressures and immigration policies : new evidence on the selection of migrants," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 52449, The World Bank.

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