Farmland Endowment and Off-farm Employment
|Keywords||farmland endowment off-farm employment farmland transfer|
Facing the biggest migration in the human history, the highest speed ofurbanization, nearly fixed corn production and the goal of1.8billion farmland, howmany impacts has the Chinese rural land institution on the off-farm employment offarmer? Which way will Chinese people choose to develop its agriculture? How dowe reform our current farmland system and promote the process of urbanization andindustrialization in order to live a comfortable life around the whole China. As forthose problems concerning our long-middle term potential growth, market efficiency,social equality and ecological balance, scholars and governors focus on the rural laborflow and migration. Meanwhile, the household contract responsibility system isconsidered to be a good one which succeeds in promoting efficiency, equality andanti-poverty since it was declared. After that, a series of land policies intended to formstable property expectation finally induced the inequality of farmland and change theway of agriculture management, which show the characteristic of increasing return toscale. All those research projects not only relates to labor shortage, Lewis’ turn pointwith the macro-respects, but also relates to the micro-decision of farmer, which havesignificance to our economy.Based on survey data involving1951households and81villages in2009, thispaper is concerned with the household employment micro-mechanism of couples inrural area from the perspective of the farmland endowment. The preliminary analysisof the head of household who leaves his rural hometown to work in cities, shows thatthe rural household can choose the optimal job combination freely, which implies thecritical influence of farmland endowment on the employment choice, and we stilldiscover that we have been to the Lewis turning point. The farmland contractsystem-farmland area keeps still whether family size increases or reduces-form theobvious cumulative effects since it took effect before three decades, which can beillustrated by the small-scale concentration. Besides, our empirical test results on thebasis of binary probit and multiple logit regression models reveal that the farmlandendowment has a significantly negative influence on the off-farm employmentprobability of household couple under the premise of increasing returns to scale.Moreover, the test result is also statistically significant and robust when we controlmore variables and the possible endogenous problems using instrumental variables. Finally, this study provides some useful reflections to the reform and improvement ofthe rural farmland contract and transfer system, which will promote large-scalefarmland operation and further release of rural labor and finally increase farmer’sincome.