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3 - Agriculture

from Part I - 1800–1950

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2022

Debin Ma
Affiliation:
Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo
Richard von Glahn
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
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Summary

For over two millennia, China has sustained the largest single human society on the planet through the development of one of the most sophisticated agrarian systems in history. Even until quite recent, agriculture occupied a central place in the Chinese economy, commanding a dominant 60 to 70 percent of the total economy throughout. Agricultural institutions define the Chinese economic system and agricultural production drove long-run economic change or growth in China. Agriculture was at the center of the Great Divergence debate. Agricultural harvest or failures sometimes spelled the rise and fall of dynasties throughout history. Moving to the modern era, Chinese agriculture became the scapegoat for China’s modernization failure and was regarded as the incubator for Communist revolution. However, given its overriding importance, research on modern Chinese agriculture has been surprisingly understudied for the last few decades.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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References

Further Reading

Brandt, L., and Sands, B., “Beyond Malthus and Ricardo: Economic Growth, Land Concentration, and Income Distribution in Early Twentieth-Century China,” Journal of Economic History 50 (December 1990), pp. 807–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Xingsui, Cao 曹幸穗 and Siming, Wang 王思明 (eds.), 中国农业通史: 近代卷 (General History of Chinese Agriculture: Modern Times) (Beijing, Zhongguo nongye chubanshe, 2020).Google Scholar
Chao, K., Man and Land in Chinese History: An Economic Analysis (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
Chen, Z., Peng, K., and Yuan, W., “Usury, Market Power and Poverty Traps: A Study of Rural Credit in 1930s’ China,” Frontiers of Economics in China 3 (2018), 369–96.Google Scholar
Han, Maoli 韩茂莉, 中国历史农业地理 (Beijing, Beijing daxue chubanshe, 2012).Google Scholar
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B., Li, Agricultural Development in Jiangnan, 1620–1850 (Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1998).Google Scholar
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Zongdian, Min 闵宗殿 (ed.), 中国农业通史: 明清卷 (General History of Chinese Agriculture: Ming and Qing Dynasties) (Beijing, Zhongguo nongye chubanshe, 2020).Google Scholar
D., Ma, “Why Japan, Not China, Was the First to Develop in East Asia: Lessons from Sericulture 1850–1937,” Economic Development and Cultural Change 52.2 (January 2004), 369–94.Google Scholar
Kaixiang, Peng 彭凯翔, 清代以来的粮价: 历史学的解释与再解释 (The Rice Price since the Qing Dynasty: A Historical Interpretation and Reinterpretation) (Shanghai, Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 2006), pp. 3241.Google Scholar
Kaixiang, Peng 彭凯翔, “人口增长下的粮食生产与经济发展—由史志宏研究员的清代农业产出测算谈起” (Grain Production and Development under the Growth of Population: A Discussion from Shi Zhihong’s Estimation about Agricultural Production in the Qing Dynasty), 中国经济史研究 (Research in Chinese Economic History) 7 (2015), 3849.Google Scholar
Perkins, D.H., Agricultural Development in China, 1368–1968 (Chicago, Aldine Publishing, 1969).Google Scholar
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Shi, Z., Agricultural Development in Qing China: A Quantitative Study, 1661–1911 (Leiden, Brill, 2018).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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