Effects of land policy liberalizations on land use and farm structures in Sichuan, China

07 August 2018

China’s rapid economic development in recent decades has been accompanied by massive waves of domestic migration from rural to urban areas. At the same time, low birth rates due to China’s one-child policy have led to a rapid aging of the rural population. As a result, the rural labor force decreased sharply, with profound effects on agricultural land use. An efficiently functioning land market would, in principle, lead to a reallocation of land to more efficient land users and possibly to land consolidation. Yet in China land markets are strongly regulated, and permanent land transactions are rare. The Chinese government recognizes the adverse effects of its land market regulations on structural change on agriculture and has embarked on pilot projects of land right reforms that would allow a more dynamic land market. Sichuan province was selected as a pilot province for the Rural Land Property Rights Reform in 2008. This project aims to anticipate the effects of land policy reforms on future land use in rural China. Household survey data from different regions of rural Sichuan will be complemented by interviews with local officials and village leaders. Further, we will use decision trees to analyze land-use decision-making at the household level in rural Sichuan. The results will feed into an agent-based modelling framework to simulate the effects of future land policy implementation under various demographic scenarios on land-use decision making. In a final step, we will use household data to assess the effects of the scenarios on land use, farm structures, and agricultural production.

Researcher: Kristin Leimer, Daniel MüllerCooperation

Partners: Sichuan Agricultural University