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The impact of property rights on households'investment, risk coping, and policy preferences : evidence from China

  • Deininger, Klaus
  • Songqing Jin

Even though it is widely recognized that giving farmers more secure land rights may increase agricultural investment, scholars contend that, in the case of China, such a policy might undermine the function of land as a social safety net and, as a consequence, not be sustainable or command broad support. Data from three provinces, one of which had adopted a policy to increase security of tenure in advance of the others, suggest that greater tenure security, especially if combined with transferability of land, had a positive impact on agricultural investment and, within the time frame considered, led neither to an increase in inequality of land distribution nor a reduction in households'ability to cope with exogenous shocks. Household support for more secure property rights is increased by their access to other insurance mechanisms, suggesting some role of land as a safety net. At the same time, past exposure to this type of land right has a much larger impact quantitatively, suggesting that a large part of the resistance to changed property rights arrangements disappears as household familiarity with such rights increases.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2931.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2931
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  1. Rozelle, Scott & Li, Guo, 1998. "Village Leaders and Land-Rights Formation in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 433-38, May.
  2. Gale Johnson, D., 1998. "China's great famine: Introductory remarks," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 103-109.
  3. Carter, Michael R. & Yang Yao, 1999. "Specialization without regret - transfer rights, agricultural productivity, and investment in an industrializing economy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2202, The World Bank.
  4. Knight, John & Li, Shi, 1996. "Educational Attainment and the Rural--Urban Divide in China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(1), pages 83-117, February.
  5. McMillan, John & Whalley, John & Zhu, Lijing, 1989. "The Impact of China's Economic Reforms on Agricultural Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 781-807, August.
  6. Shouying Liu & MICHAEL R. CARTER & Yang Yao, 1996. "Dimensions and Diversity of Property Rights in Rural China: Delimmas on the Road to Further Reform," Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Papers 395, Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Department.
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