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Through two rounds of land contracting, rural households have been allocated a bundle of rights in land. We observe significant differences across villages in the amount of land to which villagers retain a claim and the institutional mechanisms governing the exchange of land rights. This study reveals the perpetuation and expansion of non-market mechanisms accruing to the benefit of village cadres and state officials and only limited emergence of market mechanisms in which households are primary beneficiaries. It identifies factors in economic, political and legal domains that incentivize and enable state officials and local cadres to capture returns from use of land. Relatedly, the study finds differences in conflict over property-rights regimes. Drawing on a pilot survey carried out by the authors in November of 2011 in Shaanxi and Jiangsu provinces (192 households in 24 villages), this paper seeks to explain heterogeneity and change in property-rights regimes over time and across space.
Students in rural China are dropping out of secondary school at troubling rates. While there is considerable quantitative research on this issue, no systematic effort has been made to assess the deeper reasons behind student decision making through a mixed-methods approach. This article seeks to explore the prevalence, correlates and potential reasons for rural dropout throughout the secondary education process. It brings together results from eight large-scale survey studies covering 24,931 rural secondary students across four provinces, as well as analysis of extensive interviews with 52 students from these same study sites. The results show that the cumulative dropout rate across all windows of secondary education may be as high as 63 per cent. Dropping out is significantly correlated with low academic performance, high opportunity cost, low socio-economic status and poor mental health. A model is developed to suggest that rural dropout is primarily driven by two mechanisms: rational cost-benefit analysis or impulsive, stress-induced decision making.
We thank Anning Hu for carefully reading and commenting on our report “College is a rich, Han, urban, male club: research notes from a census survey of four tier one colleges in China.” We also thank the editor of The China Quarterly for giving us the chance to respond to the commentary. The topic of assessing disparities in college access in China (and other developing countries undergoing major transitions in their higher education systems) is an important one. We hope that our China Quarterly article, Hu's commentary and our response will stimulate more research and dialogue on this topic in China and elsewhere.
This study estimates the impact of road expansion on off-farm activities in rural China. To achieve this goal, econometric models that capture the impact of road expansion on migration and local off-farm works are developed and estimated using individual data. Estimation results show that road expansion encourages farmers to participate in local off-farm work rather than migrate. In addition, road expansion also has a significant impact on the working time and income of local off-farm work.
The opportunity to attend college and earn a degree has increased dramatically in China. However, that does not mean that everyone has an equal opportunity. Historically, there has been well-documented systematic discrimination against minorities, women and the rural poor. The main question of this paper is whether or not this discrimination has persisted since the recent expansion of China's tertiary education system. Using a census of incoming freshmen from four tier one universities, this paper assesses if certain types of students are over-represented while other types of students are under-represented. Comparing the shares of students from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds from our primary survey data with government generated census statistics, we conclude that poor, minority and rural female students are systematically under-represented. In contrast, rich, Han, urban males are dominant in college.
In contrast to its decentralized political economy model of the 1980s, China took a surprising turn towards recentralization in the mid-1990s. Its fiscal centralization, starting with the 1994 tax reforms, is well known, but political recentralization also has been under way to control cadres directly at township and village levels. Little-noticed measures designed to tighten administrative and fiscal regulation began to be implemented during approximately the same period in the mid-1990s. Over time these measures have succeeded in hollowing out the power of village and township cadres. The increasing reach of the central state is the direct result of explicit state policies that have taken power over economic resources that were once under the control of village and township cadres. This article examines the broad shift towards recentralization by examining the fiscal and political consequences of these policies at the village and township levels. Evidence for this shift comes from new survey data on village-level investments, administrative regulation and fiscal oversight, as well as township-level fiscal revenues, expenditures, transfers (between counties and townships) and public-goods investments.
The goals of this article are to help build a clear picture of the role of women in China's agriculture, to assess whether or not agricultural feminization has been occurring, and if so, to measure its impact on labour use, productivity and welfare. The article uses two high quality data sets to explore who is working on China's farms and the effects of the labour allocation decisions of rural households on labour use, productivity and welfare. It makes three main contributions. First, we establish a conceptual framework within which to define the different dimensions of agricultural feminization and its expected consequences. Second, as a contribution to the China literature and contrary to popular perceptions, we believe we have mostly debunked the myth that China's agriculture is becoming feminized; it is not. We also find that even if women were taking over farms, the consequences in China would be mostly positive – from a labour supply, productivity and income point of view. Finally, there may be some lessons for the rest of the world on what policies and institutions help make women productive when they work on and manage a nation's agricultural sector. Policies that ensure equal access to land, regulations that dictate open access to credit, and economic development strategies that encourage competitive and efficient markets all contribute to an environment in which women farmers can succeed.
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