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The impact of land renting-in on farm productivity: evidence from maize production in China

Tongwei Qiu, Qinying He, S.T. Boris Choy, Yifei Li and Biliang Luo

China Agricultural Economic Review, 2020, vol. 13, issue 1, 78-95

Abstract: Purpose - This study investigates the effect of renting in land on farm productivity, and the impacts of rented-in land size and transaction partner type on farm productivity. Design/methodology/approach - Data from the 2015 China Household Finance Survey are analyzed using an extended regression model and the two-stage least squares method. Findings - Farm households that rent in land are likely to achieve higher farm productivity, and ignoring endogeneity underestimates the positive effect of land renting-in. Further evidence indicates that rented-in land size has an insignificant impact on farm productivity, and that there is no difference in farm productivity between lessees renting-in land from acquaintances and those renting-in land from non-acquaintances. These results may be caused by the higher degree of marketization of land rentals between acquaintances in China. With increasing competition in agricultural factor markets, in theory, rented-in land size should not affect farm productivity. Practical implications - Overall, the analysis suggests that renting in land improves farm productivity, which supports the land transfer policies that have been rolled out in recent decades in China. However, our finding that rented land size does not affect farm productivity, consistent with the results in the literature, implies that the Chinese government should no longer subsidize or prefer large farms with low productivity. More attention should be paid to small lessees and market-oriented land rentals between acquaintances. Promoting the marketization of land transfers inside acquaintance networks could realize the potential of the land market, especially if land transfers decrease. Originality/value - This study identifies the effects of renting in land, rented-in land size and type of rental transaction partner on farm productivity using nationally representative data. The findings imply that the government should pay more attention to the marketization of land rentals between acquaintances. Although existing studies regard land rental between acquaintances as informal and of low efficiency, the recent evidence shows that China's land markets are changing, and policy makers should adjust their policies accordingly.

Keywords: Farm productivity; Land renting-in; Rented-in land size; Transaction partner; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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