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  • Industrialization and China’s Agricultural Development, 1949-1985

    Gao Yuan 2017/10/19
  • Large Farms vs. Small Farms: Grain Production in Northwestern Shandong

    Gao Yuan 2015/06/29
  • Large Farms vs. Small Farms: Grain Production in Northwestern Shandong

    Gao Yuan 2015/07/01
    The pattern of grain production in northwestern Shandong today is a combination of machinery and labor. The mechanization of plowing, sowing, and harvesting has freed “principal labor units” (i.e., males in their prime) from agriculture, while the relatively labor-intensive operations of applying fertilizer and agricultural chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) and watering still mainly rely on “auxiliary labor” (i.e., women and the elderly), which remains abundant in the countryside. The principal family laborers of households with small farms can thus pursue off-farm work, while auxiliary family labor, which has a lower opportunity cost, can still do the farming and ensure the output of grain. Large farms on the other hand have no incentive to introduce labor-saving machinery to take over what have been labor-intensive operations as long as cheap
    auxiliary labor is still plentiful. Thus large farms do not have a higher level of mechanization; however, they do have a totally different managerial logic. Their production is driven by capital, which is invested in acquiring land (through land transfers), hiring wage labor, and pursuing
    profit. In contrast, production in small farms is driven by the family’s labor, pursuing the best division of work between principal and auxiliary family labor and the maximum output per unit of land. The land scarce–labor abundant reality of China requires that agriculture pursue higher
    output, larger product value, and higher net returns on each unit of land. It is small farms that best meet these requirements.
  • Rural Development in Chongqing: The “Every Peasant Household’s Income to Grow by 10,000 Yuan” Project

    Gao Yuan 2011/11/15
    The “every peasant household’s income to grow by 10,000 yuan” project
    in Chongqing’s “two wings” region is an important movement implemented
    by the Chongqing government to spur development in the rural areas of
    Chongqing’s poorest region. The project has two key components at the
    policy level. The first is to promote agricultural “industry-ization” 产业化
    and to construct corresponding chains of production, processing, and sales
    in the two wings, thus forming the basis of growth in peasants’ income. The
    second is the emphasis on people’s livelihood, which is based on the ambition
    of accomplishing “balanced income growth” or “income growth for every
    household.” The project includes both “drawing in business and investment”
    招商引资 and “industry planning” 产业规划 as well as “cadres to go into
    peasant households and support them directly” 入户帮扶. Some of the practices
    of Chongqing cadres in supporting peasants show that the government
    can improve the microeconomic environment for peasant households and
    enhance the vitality of their small farms. This article first analyzes the policies
    and practices of agricultural industry-ization in the income growth project
    and the efforts of the Chongqing government to achieve “income growth
    for every household.” The theoretical implications of the project, including the role of government in economic development and the vitality of small
    farming in China, are then discussed through dialogue with social science
    theories.