Toward a Harmonious Countryside: The People's Republic of China's Rural Development Survey Results
The construction of a New Socialist Countryside (NSC) is among the highlights in the People's Republic of China’s (PRC) 11th Five-Year Plan (2006–2010). The NSC aims to accelerate the development and modernization of the agricultural and rural economy in order to close the widening rural–urban income gap. In an effort to better understand the priorities of and binding constraints to the PRC's rural development, and to aid the development of the NSC, two surveys were undertaken by the Asian Development Bank in six rural areas—Chongqing, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Shaanxi, and Shangdong. The 2007 survey collected village and household information on the first year of the NSC program, and the 2010 survey captured the possible changes after a few years of the program's implementation. A special feature of these surveys is that they allow for comparison of villagers' and village cadres' views on the priorities of the PRC's rural development. This paper summarizes the findings emerging from these surveys, particularly with respect to the challenges and priority areas of the PRC's rural development in 2007 and 2010. Among the key findings are (i) income growth remains the highest priority in the PRC’s rural development agenda; and (ii) lack of capital and lack of necessary job skills are the most binding constraints for growth in agricultural income and nonagricultural income, respectively.
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