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The road to specialization in agricultural production:: Evidence from rural China

  • Qin, Yu
  • Zhang, Xiaobo

Because many rural poor live in areas far away from markets, we investigate whether better road access could help improve their livelihood and reduce rural poverty. We use three waves of a primary panel survey at the household level conducted in 18 remote natural villages in China to study how road access shapes farmers’ agricultural production patterns and input uses and affects rural poverty. Our results show that access to roads is strongly associated with specialization in agricultural production. In natural villages with better road access, farmers plant fewer numbers of crops, purchase more fertilizer, and invest more money in labor. In combination with such factors, road connections improve household agricultural income—in particular, cash income—and contribute to poverty reduction in the surveyed villages. However, better access to rural roads does not appear to bring about significant changes in nonagricultural income.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 1221.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1221
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  1. Fan, Shenggen & Chan-Kang, Connie, 2004. "Road development, economic growth, and poverty reduction in China," DSGD discussion papers 12, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Renkow, Mitch & Hallstrom, Daniel G. & Karanja, Daniel D., 2004. "Rural infrastructure, transactions costs and market participation in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 349-367, February.
  3. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," NBER Technical Working Papers 0344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. XING, Li & FAN, Shenggen & LUO, Xiaopeng & ZHang, Xiaobo, 2009. "Community poverty and inequality in western China: A tale of three villages in Guizhou Province," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 338-349, June.
  5. Douglas Gollin & Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Agriculture, Roads, and Economic Development in Uganda," NBER Working Papers 15863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Zhang, Xiaobo & Yang, Jin & Wang, Shenglin, 2011. "China has reached the Lewis turning point," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 542-554.
  7. Fan, Shenggen & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2004. "Infrastructure and regional economic development in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 203-214.
  8. Javier Escobal & Carmen Ponce, 2003. "The benefits of rural roads. Enhancing income opportunities for the rural poor," Documentos de Investigación dt40b, Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE).
  9. Jacoby, Hanan G., 1998. "Access to markets and the benefits of rural roads," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2028, The World Bank.
  10. Shahidur R. Khandker & Zaid Bakht & Gayatri B. Koolwal, 2009. "The Poverty Impact of Rural Roads: Evidence from Bangladesh," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 685-722, 07.
  11. Steven Were Omamo, 1998. "Farm-to-market transaction costs and specialisation in small-scale agriculture: Explorations with a non-separable household model," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 152-163.
  12. Shenggen Fan & Peter Hazell, 2001. "Returns to Public Investments in the Less-Favored Areas of India and China," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1217-1222.
  13. Gibson, John & Rozelle, Scott, 2003. "Poverty and Access to Roads in Papua New Guinea," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(1), pages 159-85, October.
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