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Mechanization outsourcing clusters and division of labor in Chinese agriculture:

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  • Zhang, Xiaobo
  • Yang, Jin
  • Reardon, Thomas Anthony

Abstract

Most of the poor in the developing countries are smallholder farmers. Improving their productivity is essential for reducing poverty. Despite small landholdings, a high degree of land fragmentation, and rising labor costs, agricultural production in China has steadily increased. If one treats the farm household as the unit of analysis, it would be difficult to explain the conundrum. When seeing agricultural production from the lens of division of labor, the puzzle can be easily solved. In response to rising labor costs, farmers outsource some power-intensive stages of production, such as harvesting, to specialized mechanization service providers, which are often clustered in a few counties and travel throughout the country to harvest crops at very competitive service charges. Through such an arrangement, smallholder farmers can stay viable in agricultural production.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Xiaobo & Yang, Jin & Reardon, Thomas Anthony, 2015. "Mechanization outsourcing clusters and division of labor in Chinese agriculture:," IFPRI discussion papers 1415, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1415
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yating, Zeng & Yanhong, Jin & Zhong, Tang, 2016. "Investigating the Relationship between Land and Labor Endowments and Agricultural Mechanization among Chinese Farmers," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236367, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Adhikari, Rajendra Prasad & Kumar, Anjani, 2016. "Is access to tractor service a binding constraint for Nepali Terai farmers? :," IFPRI discussion papers 1508, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Guo, Hongdong & Ji, Chen & Jin, Songqing & Huang, Zuhui, 2015. "Outsourcing Agricultural Production: Evidence from Rice Farmers in Zhejiang Province," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 206079, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    4. Takeshima, Hiroyuki, 2015. "Identifying the effects of market imperfections for a scale biased agricultural technology: Tractors in Nigeria," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211937, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Rada, Nicholas & Wang, Chenggang & Qin, Lijian, 2015. "Subsidy or market reform? Rethinking China’s farm consolidation strategy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 93-103.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agriculture; mechanization; microeconomics; Wages; Economic development; Smallholders;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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