Despite reforms to the hukou household registration system and the very large rural-urban migration experienced in China, rural households are still experiencing a risk of losing their land allocation if they migrate. We argue that this risk leads to an inefficient rental market with low rents and is an impediment to migration, with consequent over-employment in agriculture and low productivity.
The Rural Land Contracting Law (RLCL), announced in 2003, is a landmark law for agricultural households in rural China. It provides new legal protections for leasing agricultural land. In theory, increasing free market exchanges of land should improve agricultural productivity by facilitating the movement of land towards the most productive users. We find that the property rights reform led to a 10 percent increase in land rental activity among rural households, a redistribution of land towards more productive farmers, and a 7 percent increase in the aggregate productivity of land. We also observe an increased responsiveness of land allocation across crops to changes in crop prices.
A key foundation of Chinese-style institutions is that different levels of government control resources and utilize their power to support businesses connected to them. Professors Haoyuan Ding of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Haichao Fan of Fudan University, and Shu Lin of the Chinese University of Hong Kong develop a theoretical model and present supporting empirical evidence to show how this institutional feature affects firm exports in China. In particular, they find that political connection has a positive effect on export in industries that heavily rely on external finance and contracting environment, but a negative effect on export in other industries.