Property Rights, Land Misallocation and Agricultural Efficiency in China

This paper examines the impact of a property rights reform in rural China that allowed farmers to lease out their land. We find the reform led to increases in land rental activity in rural households. Our results indicate that the formalization of leasing rights resulted in a redistribution of land toward more productive farmers. Consequently, output and aggregate productivity increased by 8 and 10%, respectively. We also find that the reform increased the responsiveness of land allocation across crops to changes in crop prices.

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