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The Declining Share of Agricultural Employment in the People’s Republic of China: How Fast?


  • Felipe, Jesus

    () (Asian Development Bank)

  • Dacuycuy, Connie

    () (Ateneo de Manila University)

  • Lanzafame, Matteo

    () (Università degli Studi di Messina)


From 1962 to 2013, the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s)agricultural employment share declined from 82% to 31%. The transfer of workers out of low-productivity agriculture is a fundamental pillar of the PRC’s aspirations to progress and eventually become a high-income economy. We hypothesize that the drivers of this decline have been the increase in income per capita, industrial value added, foreign direct investment, and domestic credit. We use an Autoregressive Distributed Lag Model to test the strong exogeneity of the regressors so that we can use it for forecasting. Results indicate that the share of employment in agriculture in the PRC will decline to about 24% by 2020, the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016–2020). We also estimate that the PRC’s employment share will reach 5%, the share observed in today’s rich economies, by 2042–2048.

Suggested Citation

  • Felipe, Jesus & Dacuycuy, Connie & Lanzafame, Matteo, 2014. "The Declining Share of Agricultural Employment in the People’s Republic of China: How Fast?," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 419, Asian Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbewp:0419

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bardsen, Gunnar, 1989. "Estimation of Long Run Coefficients in Error Correction Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 51(3), pages 345-350, August.
    2. M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin & Richard J. Smith, 2001. "Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 289-326.
    3. Elliott, Graham & Rothenberg, Thomas J & Stock, James H, 1996. "Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 813-836, July.
    4. Granger, C. W. J., 1988. "Some recent development in a concept of causality," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 199-211.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sen Gupta, Abhijit & More, Vishal & Gupta, Kanupriya, 2016. "Structural Change and Poverty Reduction at Sub-State Levels in India," MPRA Paper 72740, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Abhijit Sen Gupta & Vishal More & Kanupriya Gupta, 2018. "Why Generating Productive Jobs is Essential for Reducing Poverty in India: Evidence from Indian Regions," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 61(4), pages 563-587, December.

    More about this item


    agricultural employment; People’s Republic of China; structural transformation;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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