UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

AAEA Presentation by Meilin Ma: Earthbound Labor and Incomplete Exit from Farming in China: Multiple Distortions and Nonseparable Decisions

July 26, 2017

Advisor: Richard J. Sexton
Fields: Agricultural Economics, Development Economics, and Industrial Organization

Time: Tuesday, August 1st, 1:15 pm – 2:45 pm
Location: Great America I, 6th Floor

My primary research interests lie in the intersection of agricultural economics and development economics, with an emphasis on producer organizations and on the role of agricultural policies. In particular, I study agricultural production in China’s rapidly transforming rural sector. My research explores economic patterns of farmland consolidation and the formation of large-scale production units. I also study structures of commodity markets in China and the United States.

My Ph.D. Dissertation explains the persistence of smallholder farming in China. I challenge the standard conclusion that land transfers are inactive and smallholder exits are rare by using an innovation survey design. Based upon recent data that I collected in Southwest China, I reveal active seasonal and partial arrangements of contract land by smallholders and highlight the complex spectrum of incomplete exiting behavior. Although few smallholders exit completely from farming, numerous are exiting in various incomplete ways. My Dissertation provides a comprehensive answer to the question of why incomplete exit is preferred by households, through developing a theoretical model and estimating effects of key determinants on exit decisions. In addition, I identify and measure the efficiency and welfare effects of incomplete exit. The research closely links to another study of mine on farmer cooperatives in China, especially when I discuss about how incomplete exit affects the formation of operation of large farms.


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