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Deregulation, technical efficiency and production risk in rice farming: evidence from Zhejiang Province, China

Juanli Wang, Xiaoli Etienne and Yongxi Ma

China Agricultural Economic Review, 2020, vol. 12, issue 4, 605-622

Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the technical efficiency and production risk in China's rice production and examine the effect of factor market reform on these two agricultural performance metrics. Design/methodology/approach - Using an unbalanced farm-level panel data with 2,193 observations on 329 rice farms from 2004 to 2016, the authors estimate a translog stochastic production frontier model that accounts for both technical inefficiency and production risk. A one-step procedure through the maximum likelihood method that combines the stochastic production frontier, technical inefficiency and production risk functions is used to circumvent the bias problem often found in the conventional two-step model. Findings - Estimation results show that both land and labor market reforms significantly improved the level of technical efficiency over the years, although the effect of land market deregulation is of a much higher magnitude compared to the latter. The land market reform, however, has also increased the risk of production. The authors further find that a higher proportion of hired labor in total labor cost helps lower production risk, while also acting to decrease technical efficiency. Additionally, agricultural subsidies not only increased the output variability but also lowered technical efficiency Originality/value - First, the authors evaluate the effect of market deregulation on technical efficiency and production risk under a stochastic frontier framework that simultaneously accounts for both production performance metrics, which is important from a statistical point of view. Further, the authors exploit both cross-sectional and time-series variations in a panel setting to more accurately estimate the technical inefficiency scores and production risk for individual farmers, and investigate how the exogenous land and labor market reforms influence these two production performance measures in China's rice farming. This is the first study in the literature to analyze these questions under a panel framework.

Keywords: Deregulation; Technical efficiency; Production risk; Rice production; Stochastic frontier analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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