Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 February 2022
Since the late nineteenth century, some scholars have emphasized the free character of the traditional Chinese economy, while others have regarded it as a feudal or Asiatic one that prevented the development of a market economy. The question of property rights and factor markets, which are the themes of this chapter, is closely related to this subject. The first section of this chapter will give a brief survey of the institutions governing the markets for land, labor, and capital from the perspective of law and policy. In the second section, several concrete illustrations will be presented to describe the functioning of factor markets in the Song–Qing economy. In the last section, an outline of the short-, middle-, and long-term changes that occurred in factor markets will be described.