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Tractor vs. animal: Rural reforms and technology adoption in China

Shuo Chen and Xiaohuan Lan

Journal of Development Economics, 2020, vol. 147, issue C

Abstract: Better institutions do not always advance technologies. China’s rural reforms during the early 1980s secured land tenure for peasants and dismantled large collective farms into small household farms, which transformed tillage technology. Using a novel data set of 1755 counties from 1976 to 1988, our event study exploits the county-by-county rollout of the reform. We find that the use of tractors plummeted after the reform, while the use of draft animals surged. Post-reform tractor use was more suitable to local factor endowments and farm size. Small tractors became more popular while the number of large tractors declined.

Keywords: Agriculture; Land reform; China; Technology; Property rights; Farm size (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 O33 P26 Q15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2020.102536

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:147:y:2020:i:c:s0304387820301115