IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

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

Listed author(s):
  • Audra J. Bowlus
  • Terry Sicular

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 enables 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 same 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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 219.

in new window

Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 1999
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:1999-219
Contact details of provider: Postal:
724 E. University Ave, Wyly Hall 1st Flr, Ann Arbor MI 48109

Phone: 734 763-5020
Fax: 734 763-5850
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:1999-219. 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: (WDI)

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.