IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Household Structure and Labor Demand in Agriculture: Testing for Separability in Rural China



Economic reforms in China have brought rapid growth in nonagricultural employment in rural areas and a substantial shift in the structure of rural employment. These changes have led researchers to question the conventional view of rural China as a labor surplus economy with poorly functioning factor markets. We contribute to this debate by testing for separability between the labor demand and supply decisions of households in a typical rural county in northern China. Our test, which makes use of unique panel data that enable us to control for time-invariant unobservable household characteristics, yields the following results: (1) separability is rejected across a variety of specifications, indicating that factor markets in the early 1990s remained underdeveloped; (2) the conventional view of surplus labor oversimplifies the situation as we find that, while some localities have a labor surplus, others may face labor shortages; and (3) separability does hold in areas where substantial employment opportunities exist at the township level, suggesting the need for employment opportunities that transcend village borders so as to create competitive pressures on villages and promote the inter-village movement of resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Audra J. Bowlus & Terry Sicular, 1998. "Household Structure and Labor Demand in Agriculture: Testing for Separability in Rural China," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9813, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:9813

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:9813. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.